Discourse and Democracy   /   Fall 2004   /    Bibliographic Review

Bibliographic Review on Discourse and Democracy

Political communities of all kinds are surrounded and saturated by discourse. Official pomp and metaphors legitimating the regime, subversive and conspiratorial murmurings, and the tensions and competing elements within these all have a solid place in the history of political institutions. But the connection between democracy and discourse is more specific, resting on a particular set of hopes about the relation of discourse to governance. Modern democracy is based on two hopes: first, that states subject to the public reasoning of citizens will be more good and just than those that are not (or will pose the least threat to goodness and justice), and, second, that by granting authority to persuasion, reason (or at least toleration) will replace coercion as a way of making peace between people with deep differences in a polity.

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