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Democracy and Disagreement Paperback – February 20, 1998

ISBN-13: 978-0674197664 ISBN-10: 0674197666

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Belknap Press (February 20, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674197666
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674197664
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,153,403 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Well-situated at the nexus of several trends in political theory and academic publishing, Democracy and Disagreement addresses contemporary theories of "deliberative democracy" in a highly accessible style intended to bring this important topic to the attention of a wider audience. "Deliberative democracy" is a term used (often rather loosely) to describe a mode of decision-making which privileges participation in debate or dialogue (as opposed to mere polling or casting ballots) as the desirable means for arriving at public judgment. Like another book published this year by a professor of political theory, Democracy's Discontent, by Michael Sandel, the intended audience of Gutmann and Thompson's book is the thoughtful general reader who is concerned with reducing the divisiveness of contemporary political debate. For that reason, Democracy and Disagreement leaves behind many academic points of disagreement between liberals, communitarians, and civic republicans, and takes on topics like welfare reform, affirmative action, and health care rationing. The result is an intelligent book, unlikely to completely satisfy academic audiences, but one that generally succeeds at bringing the topic of "deliberative democracy" to the attention of lay readers through clear and lucid prose and well-chosen examples of practical policy issues. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Any reader familiar with the previous work of Professors Gutmann and Thompson (coeditors of Ethics & Politics, Nelson-Hall, 1990) will be pleased to see they have continued to collaborate on matters central to the vitality and resiliency of our republic. The authors contend that "we suffer from a deliberative deficit not only in our democratic politics but also in our democratic theory." Thus, they seek to revitalize American politics by asking the rest of us to rethink American political thought. It's a daunting task, one whose successful completion is perhaps beyond guarantee. Nonetheless, Gutmann and Thompson, in their focus on "deliberative democracy," offer a detailed diagnosis and persuasive prognosis of public debate and civic virtue in contemporary America. Presenting an alternative theory to the prevailing utilitarian perspective, the authors propose a model for public policymaking that must be taken seriously by citizens and public officials alike. Especially recommended for scholarly libraries.?Stephen Shaw, Northwest Nazarene Coll., Nampa, Id.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Carmina on May 18, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
'Democeracy and disagreement' contributes a great deal to the current discussion in political philosophy, regarding the ways democracy should confront the disagreements inside it.
It stand in contrast both to 'procedural democracy' - which insist on the right/justified process in which solutions to disagreements are made, and to 'constitutional democracy' - which insist on a set of rights that has priority over the democratic process, rights whose primary purpose is to produce justified outcomes. Gutmann and Thompson suggest what they call a 'deliberative democracy', which rejects the dichotomy between democratic proceudres and just outcomes. According to the deliberative conception, citizens and representatives are deliberating over both the process and the content of disagreements and the way to solve them, if accessible.
After introducing the main principles which sould guide the process - reciprocity, publicity and acountability, and the principles which should guide the content - basic liberty, basic oppurtunity and fair oppurtunity, they discuss their conception in what they call 'middle politics' - of everyday politics, where arguments are actually made regarding real issues that are on the public agenda, and where conflicts between different views are actually taking place. This way they demonstrate their conception in discussing abortions, transplants, affirmative action, healthe care and more.
After reading 'deliberative democracy', one is more qualified in thinking about the main political issues on the public agenda, as well as on the principles that should guide thinking and discussing them.
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