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Title: Animal Rights and the Deliberative turn in Democratic Theory
Authors: Garner, Robert W.
First Published: 25-Feb-2016
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Citation: European Journal of Political theory, 2016, 1474885116630937
Abstract: Deliberative democracy has been castigated by those who regard it as exclusive and elitist because of its failure to take into account a range of structural inequalities existing within contemporary liberal democracies. As a result, it is suggested, deliberative arenas will merely reproduce these inequalities, advantaging the already powerful extolling mainstream worldviews excluding the interests of the less powerful and those expounding alternative worldviews. Moreover, the tactics employed by those excluded social movements seeking to right an injustice are typically those – involving various forms of protest and direct action – which are incompatible with the key characteristics of deliberatively democracy. This paper seeks to examine the case against deliberative democracy through the prism of animal rights. It will be argued that the critique of deliberative democracy, at least in the case of animal rights, is largely misplaced because it underestimates the rationalistic basis of animal rights philosophy, misunderstands the aspirational character of deliberative theory and mistakenly attributes problems that are not restricted to deliberation but result from interest group politics in general. It is further argued that this debate about the apparent incompatibility between the ideals of deliberative democracy and non-deliberative activism disguises the potential that deliberative democracy has for advocates of animal rights and, by extension, other social movements too.
DOI Link: 10.1177/1474885116630937
ISSN: 1474-8851
eISSN: 1741-2730
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © Sage publications, 2016. This version of this article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License ( ), which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Politics and International Relations

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