Reason, Deliberation, and Democracy in Divided Societies: Perspectives from the Jafari School of Thought

Abstract

In this article I argue that because of its emphasis on the use of reason, the Jafari Islamic school of thought is not only compatible with, but even promotes certain forms of deliberative democracy. I particularly focus on how this characteristic offers a valuable conceptual tool to promote peace and justice in deeply divided societies. My argument is grounded in traditional Shia theology and history but develops a political framework embedded within contemporary political theory. I distinguish this democratic political framework from the theocratic model of Wilayat-ul-Faqih, the political system currently being applied in Iran, and argue that an emphasis on rational argumentation opens a path towards reconciliation between Islamic principles and democracy. I analyse the potential benefits of deliberative democracy for Shias in both Middle Eastern societies and the West.

Keywords

democracy, deliberation, islam, shia, reason

How to Cite

Pirsoul N., (2017) “Reason, Deliberation, and Democracy in Divided Societies: Perspectives from the Jafari School of Thought”, Journal of Public Deliberation 13(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.16997/jdd.272

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Authors

Nicolas Pirsoul (The University of Auckland)

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

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This article has been peer reviewed.

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