Deliberation, Social Choice and Absolutist Democracy  book cover
1st Edition

Deliberation, Social Choice and Absolutist Democracy

ISBN 9780415591652
Published June 30, 2010 by Routledge
198 Pages

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Book Description

Social choice theory and theories of deliberative discourse have deeply impacted on the way political scientists understand the dynamics of democratic politics and decision-making. Deliberation, Social Choice and Absolutist Democracy addresses the dispute between these competing schools of thought.

Deliberative democracy and social choice theorists offer the two dominant and competing conceptions of participation in contemporary democratic theory. With the former holding that theories of discourse tell us that through the democratic process we can arrive at consensus, rational outcomes and even principles of justice, while the latter suggest that fair and equal participation is more likely to lead to instability and irrational outcomes.

With an in-depth examination of social choice theory and deliberative democracy, David van Mill:

  • presents two case studies on the American Continental Congress 1774-1789
  • provides an assessment of the types of institutions that will promote radical democracy and create stable outcomes with the minimum sacrifice of the freedom and equality of participants
  • defends a more radical idea of absolutist democracy, gleaned from the writings of Hobbes, against the claims made in favour of limited constitutional government.

This book will be of interest to students and researchers of political theory, particularly those with an interest in democracy and social choice theory.


Table of Contents

Chapter One: Democratic Alternatives

Chapter Two: An Empirical Test of Discursive and Social Choice theories of Democracy

Chapter Three: Hobbesian Sovereignty: An Unlikely Source for Democratic Politics

Chapter Four: Rousseau: A Democratic Ally for Hobbes

Chapter Five: A Return to Social Choice Theory

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David van Mill is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Political Science and the University of Western Australia.