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Deliberation after Consensus: Introduction to the Symposium


Henrik Friberg-Fernros ,

University of Gothenburg, SE
About Henrik

Henrik Friberg-Fernros is an associate professor in political science at the University of Gothenburg. His main research interests are in political theory and practical philosophy, and he has previously published in journals such as Political Studies, Ethnicities, Social Epistemology, Journal of Medical Ethics, Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, Bioethics, and Journal of Religious Ethics.

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Johan Karlsson Schaffer,

University of Gothenburg, SE
About Johan Karlsson

Johan Karlsson Schaffer is an associate professor at the School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg. His research interests are centred on political and international theory, democracy and human rights. His publications include articles in Social Epistemology, Review of International Studies, Political Studies and International Theory, as well as the volumes Moral and political conceptions of human rights and The legitimacy of international human rights regimes (Cambridge UP).

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Cathrine Holst

University of Oslo, NO
About Cathrine

Cathrine Holst is Professor at the Department of Sociology and Human Geography and ARENA Centre for European Studies, University of Oslo. Among her research interests are political and democratic theory and the role of expertise in policy-making. She has published in journals such as International Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, Social Epistemology, Acta Sociologica, Science and Public Policy, and European Politics and Society.

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This editorial introduction presents an overview of the themes explored in the symposium on Deliberation after Consensus. For all the talk of its obsolescence and irrelevance, the concept of consensus still remains centrally contested through generations of deliberative democracy scholarship. In face of criticism for being neither empirically feasible nor normatively desirable, some deliberative theorists have moved away from consensus-oriented teleology and argued in favor of other legitimate outcomes of deliberations. Other theorists have resisted this move, claiming that the aim of deliberation implies that consensus should remain as a regulative ideal for deliberative outcomes. Engaging with these debates about the role of consensus in theories of deliberative democracy, this symposium brings together a selection of innovative, original research articles that raise novel questions about the role consensus could and should play in democratic deliberation and in a deliberative democracy. This introduction offers an overview of the debate over consensus drawing on the notion of successive generations of deliberative democracy research. Our aim is to demonstrate that the view of consensus has changed during generations of deliberative scholarships, but also that some scholars still defend the normative importance of the meaning of consensus once developed by the first generation. Consequently, there are tendencies of both change and continuity in the debate over consensus in deliberative theory. We conclude this introduction by providing a brief synopsis of each paper.

How to Cite: Friberg-Fernros, H., Schaffer, J. K., & Holst, C. (2019). Deliberation after Consensus: Introduction to the Symposium. Journal of Public Deliberation, 15(1), 12. DOI:
Published on 23 Apr 2019.


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