Vol. 3, Issue 5 (2018)
Habermasian deliberative democracy nuance: An enquiry
Author(s): Lawrence Ofunja Kangei, Patrick Ouma Nyabul, John Muhenda
Abstract: Deliberative theory of democracy or discursive democracy is distinct albeit inextricable from the concept of communicative rationality. Habermas employs this outlook in the advancement of other spine facets that institute his theory of deliberative democracy. For him, communication is a core medium for resolving many of the social malaise. The intricate issue of pursuit in this disquisition is that Habermas’ deliberative democracy is exclusivist, thus, posing further encumbrances in its realization of the mutual good. The approach utilized in the pursuit of conceivable panaceas to this convoluted matter was hermeneutics. We are here to first and foremost accentuate Habermas’ theory of deliberative democracy and later on proffer a critique to it. It is interesting to engage with Habermas on the tenets of democracy and strive to construe the rationale as to why he opts to attenuate or parallel democracy to communication that wears a procedural stance. In the same mode of thought, he treats other human realms from a communicative standpoint. The core domains that he employs the power of communication to develop are human rights and popular sovereignty, legitimacy, and ethics. In setting out to comprehend the link between his concept of human rights and popular sovereignty, he notes that these two realities are co-original, to denote that, they might have been con-created or they are concomitant so to mention, thus, one might not profoundly deem one exclusive of the other. The findings of the paper were: Habermas borrows his concept of popular sovereignty from Rousseau’s worldview of the social contract. Moreover, Habermas utilizes deliberation to shape his perspective of law. For him, the laws can only be promulgated via deliberation, whereby, the members of the society actively take part in the varied sorts of debates that are to transpire within the gamut of the public sphere. What of those who are privated of the faculty of speech? Eventually, he tackles matters appertaining to discourse ethics, which ought to be informed by the public discourse(s). There is a common thread that cuts across these three central pillars of Habermas’ theory of deliberative democracy, the faculty of communication, which for him, communication gives the impression of being the source and the summit of moulding the society.