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Types of Deliberation


Luigi Bobbio


As research has increasingly addressed deliberative processes through theoretical analyses, empirical studies, and practical experiments, it has become apparent that deliberation is a phenomenon with many faces. Argument-based interaction may come about in different ways and have different functions. Many of these differences can be explained by the nature of the entry positions, i.e. the type of judgment participants express at the start of the deliberation process. Positions may be strong or weak, conscious or unconscious, free or constrained. I discuss the relationship between type of position and type of deliberation, hypothesizing what difference there may be in the development of the deliberative process and in its outcome, and look at the most frequent deviations from the ideal deliberative model. I discuss both cases of symmetrical deliberation, in which all participants express positions of the same type, and cases of asymmetrical deliberation, more frequent in the real world, in which interaction is among actors whose positions are of different types. The analysis suggests that specific settings should be adopted and specific strategies employed depending on the type of deliberation involved.

How to Cite: Bobbio, L. (2010). Types of Deliberation. Journal of Public Deliberation, 6(2), 1. DOI:
Published on 20 Sep 2010.


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