Contribution of Feminism to the Evolution of Deliberative Democracy Concept

AuthorAlexandru Boboc-Cojocaru
PositionAlexandru Ioan Cuza', Iasi
Interdisciplinary Dimensions of Communication Science
Contribution of Feminism to the Evolution of
Deliberative Democracy Concept
Alexandru Boboc Cojocaru
Abstract: Two types of feminist approaches bri ng their contribution in the debate on deliberative
democracy. The first type, which highlights women’s greater capacity to pr ovide care, change and expandes
the deliberation by providing images and models of practice from the experience of women. In this view,
women's s ocialization and r ole in chil drearing, among ot her causes, makes them especially concerned to
transform "I" into "we" and to seek solutions to conflict that accommodate diverse and often suppressed
desires. In our society women are usually brought up to identify their own good with that of others,
especially their children and husbands. More than men, w omen build their identities through relationships
with friends. Feminist critiques of deliberative democracy have focused on t he abstraction, impartiality and
rationality of mainstream accounts of deliberation. Feminist writers propose this capacity for broader self-
definition as a model for democratic politics.
Keywords: Feminism; political theory; gender relations; democratic system; deliberation
1. Introduction
Democracy originally meant deliberative democracy. Aristotle, while not a democrat, still concluded
that the people in their deliberative capacity could come to better decisions on many matters than
could an expert: "just as a feast to which many contribute is better than one provided by a single
person." (Aristotle, 2010, p. 71) The great writers on democracy in the eighteenth and nineteenth
centuries saw democracy as primarily a way of reasoning together to promote the common good.
(Mansbridge, 1983, p. 101)
The emergence of a model of deliberative democracy is perhaps one of the most significant recent
innovations in democratic theory. Yet this deliberative model of democratic theory has receives an
ambivalent reception amongst feminist political theorists. (Mansbridge, 1986, p. 132) Although it
appears to some to offer invaluable theoretical resources for engaging with central feminist concerns
regarding democratic inclusion, it generates amongst others a profound scepticism concerning its
ability to recognize difference (Benhabib, 1996, p. 42.). The relation between deliberative democracy
and feminist theory is ambivalent then, not least because feminist theory is itself a contested terrain.
2. Feminity Impact on Politics
Politics without domination is a goal with a long genealogical line to which both sexes contributed.
(Crepon; Stiegler, 2007, pp. 111-119) Claude Henri de Saint-Simon, one of the first prophets of
socialism, and Edward Bellamy, a nineteenth-century American Utopian wanted to replace people
government with things administration. Karl Marx's dream was for the gradual “proper political
power”, (i.e. of class rule) to disappear gradually. Mill and Barker replaced pure power not by
administration, but with deliberation. Yet, when women acknowledged pr oper domination free
“ Alexandru Ioan Cuza” , Iasi, Address : 11 Carol I Blvd, 700506 Iasi, Romania, Tel.: +4(0232) 201119, Fax: +4(232)
201201, Corresponding author:

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