Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance Seminar

Arguing for deliberation without ultimate justification: Why we should decide to be deliberative democrats

Tue 14 August 2018Speaker: Dannica Fleuss, Helmut-Schmidt UniversityVenue: The Dryzek Room, Building 22, University of Canberra


A starting point of post-structuralist political theory is the assumption that all social and political norms are contingent. From this angle, Oliver Marchart (2007, 2015) challenges „foundationalist“ deliberative theory for attempting to give an ultimate justification for political norms.
This seminar explores ways to respond to this challenge from the perspective of deliberative democracy: Accepting the claim that all social and political norms are contingent does not necessitate rejecting deliberative theory. Rather, contemporary deliberative theory can provide a valid theoretical perspective even though it is unable to give an ultimate justification for its own principles. Instead of providing a “foundational” justification for deliberative theory’s basic premises, I suggest that deliberative theorists should decide to accept them and discuss ways to demonstrate the value of this decision.


Dannica is a visiting research scholar at the Centre for Deliberative and Democracy and Global Governance. She completed her PhD on proceduralist democratic theory at the University of Heidelberg in 2016. Currently, she works as a Postdoctoral Researcher at Helmut-Schmidt-University, Hamburg. In her postdoctoral project she is doing research on democratic theory and the measurement of democratic deliberation at the macro level by applying a systemic framework.

Dannica's research interests include the systemic approach to deliberation, measurements of democratic performance, political cultural studies and the theoretical debate between deliberative democratic theory and poststructuralist approaches.

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