Dialogue and Deliberation as Agonistic Resistance: Designing Interactional Processes to Reconstitute Collective Identities

Abstract

This essay develops a theory of public dialogue and deliberation as agonistic resistance to authoritarian governance.Where authoritarian regimes value strict obedience to authority at the expense of freedom, deliberative democracy is predicated on the decentralization of power and the exercise of personal and political freedoms. As such, practices of dialogue and deliberation stand in direct contradiction to the values of authoritarian governance and hold the potential to constitute collective identities in ways that undermine the very conditions needed for authoritarianism to gain traction. Specifically, this essay argues that authoritarianism flourishes when particular in-group/out-group boundaries can be reified, thereby constituting a clear “us” defined against a threatening “them.” However, through the intimate achievement of dialogic and deliberative moments, various social identity roles can be made salient, which can soften group boundaries and help people to feel a sense of immediacy, respect, and connection with those who previously seemed Other.

Keywords

collective identity, nonviolence, resistance, authoritarianism, deliberation, Dialogue

How to Cite

Wolfe A., (2018) “Dialogue and Deliberation as Agonistic Resistance: Designing Interactional Processes to Reconstitute Collective Identities”, Journal of Public Deliberation 14(2). doi: https://doi.org/10.16997/jdd.307

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Authors

Anna Wiederhold Wolfe (Texas A&M University)

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

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This article has been peer reviewed.

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