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Title: Problems with participation : critical deliberative democracy, embodied identity, and affect
Author: Sullivan, Zoe May
ISNI:       0000 0004 8507 2459
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2020
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Jürgen Habermas and Seyla Benhabib create normative models of moral and political decision-making that are intended to enable ordinary people to identify themselves and to emancipate themselves from unjust conditions. When creating these models, both thinkers endorse deliberative models of democracy that reflect the central tenets and core commitments of 'discourse ethics'. Most importantly, Habermas and Benhabib claim that decisions about norms to govern society and institutional arrangements should only be treated as legitimate when they satisfy a number of demands. These demands include that the persons who create them recognize each other as worthy interlocutors with valid concerns and express themselves through modes of praxis and forms of communication that are devoid of coercion and domination-free. That said, in their normative models of moral and political decision-making, Habermas and Benhabib rely, albeit implicitly, upon a conception of the subjects who are involved as abstract and disembodied linguistic beings. Consequently, they tacitly overlook and bracket off a range of subtler, less obvious, and more insidious manifestations of power, along with a range of real-world problems with people's participation in politics that they produce. To build a more nuanced account of these issues, this thesis develops a concept of 'embodied identity' that appreciates the personal-political significance of the body and the experience of living life within it as an embodied being. Subsequently, this thesis considers how treating individuals as embodied beings contributes to on-going discussions in contemporary political theory. These discussions include debates about how best to understand what makes contemporary society unfair or unjust and what can be done to ensure that the democratic, decision-making process is as inclusive and egalitarian as possible, given the reality of socio-cultural difference, contemporary society, and actual political praxis.
Supervisor: Butt, Daniel Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available