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Political Science Commons

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2013

Arts and Humanities

Journal of Public Deliberation

Political communication

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Full-Text Articles in Political Science

Deliberative Democracy And Illiteracy: Exploring A Theoretical Gap, Udit Bhatia Oct 2013

Deliberative Democracy And Illiteracy: Exploring A Theoretical Gap, Udit Bhatia

Journal of Public Deliberation

In this essay, I demonstrate that literacy is not necessary for participation in a deliberative democracy. First, I examine the literature on the subject and demonstrate how the necessity of literacy has either been assumed or left entirely unquestioned. I argue that this is a significant gap with major conceptual and normative significance since several democracies have very high illiteracy rates. I reflect upon the overwhelming focus on ideal theory as a method of conceptual and normative analysis, and its inability to provide guidance in cases that depart radically from the ideal- but which are a normal feature of political ...