1st Edition

Persuasion, Integration, and Deliberative Democracy The Will of the Whole

By Graham Wright Copyright 2025
    208 Pages
    by Routledge

    208 Pages
    by Routledge

    It is easy to be in favor of a government that reflects the will of people you like. It is more difficult to be in favor of a government that reflects the will of people you hate. But this is precisely what democracy requires of us. And one of the most serious threats facing democracy today, in the United States and around the world, is the discomfort that many citizens feel towards this core democratic principle: that even those citizens we think of as evil, deluded, or simply wrong should still be allowed a say in what their own government does.

    Perhaps the best hope of resolving this tension can be found in the idea of deliberative democracy, which sees a particular form of non-coercive dialogue as an essential component of democratic governance. But in this book, Graham Wright argues that the traditional approach to deliberation through persuasion faces serious challenges that may limit its potential in exactly the situations when the threats to democracy are greatest. Instead, he argues that an alternative method of deliberation based on the process of “integration,” as described by early 20th century philosopher Mary Parker Follett, can do a better job of navigating these challenges, and can help us make democratic decisions that better reflect the will of the whole people.

    Persuasion, Integration, and Deliberative Democracy is a fresh approach to debates about the challenges of democracy, and the value of democratic deliberation.  For anyone wanting to understand the dangers facing deeply divided societies, this is an essential read.

    1. Who are the People? 

    2. Three Problems with Persuasion: Inclusion, Incentives, and Identity 

    3. Mary Parker Follett and the Idea of Integration 

    4. Integration and Persuasion in Practice: Responding to the Problems of Inclusion, Incentives, and Identity 

    5. Deliberation through Persuasion and Integration in Deeply Divided Societies 

    6. Integrative Deliberation in a Political System 

    Epilogue

    Biography

    Graham Wright is an associate research professor at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University and an associate research scientist at the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies, also at Brandeis.  Graham is a political scientist, political theorist, and quantitative methodologist. In addition to his work on deliberative democracy and political theory, he has published numerous articles exploring the complex intersection between attitudes and identities in American politics. He has also published articles on survey methodology and contributed statistical analyses to publications in a wide variety of fields, including economics, program evaluation, education policy, sociology of religion, and health policy. His current work focuses on the political and social dynamics of antisemitism among young adults. At the Heller School he teaches classes on statistics, research design, and contemporary antisemitism.

    Persuasion, Integration, and Deliberative Democracy is what we need to face the current challenges to democracy. Kudos to Dr. Wright for the clarity of his thinking and writing, and for introducing Follett’s integrative process. As Follett advised: ‘One should never allow ourselves to be bullied by an either/or. There is often the possibility of something better than either of two given alternatives.’ Integration can be difficult, but the alternatives are far worse. Persuasion, Integration, and Deliberative Democracy shows us how.” 

    Jody Hoffer Gittell, Relational Coordination Collaborative, Brandeis University