In 2006, Barack Obama wrote that the 'framework of our constitution' is designed 'to force us into a "deliberative democracy" in which all citizens are required to engage in a process of testing their ideas against an external reality, persuading others of their point of view'.
His statement is just one of the many examples of the contemporary relevance of deliberative democracy. But where does this model come from? When was it born and how did it develop?
Starting from the 1980s, this book provides the first, complete history of the idea of deliberative democracy, analysing its relationship with the earlier idea, and practices, of participatory democracy in the 1960s and 1970s.
The author provides a lucid and detailed analysis of the texts and authors that have contributed to this theoretical field and, in the final chapter, proposes a possible guiding map of today's complex deliberative field, in its present configuration.
'The deliberative model of democracy has become very important in political science. As yet there is no systematic analysis of how this field emerged in the 1980s and 1990s. Antonio Floridia fills this lacuna in a superb way. His book is critical, differentiated, and thoroughly researched. It is of the highest scholarly quality. It is well organized and clearly written so that it can also be used as a textbook for classes in democratic theory.'
Jürg Steiner, professor emeritus, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and University of Bern
'Antonio Floridia's book is an exquisite, most needed and truly original contribution to the understanding of deliberative democracy starting from its theoretical genealogy: its first theoretical formulations, the reasons behind its elaboration, and the conceptual (but also historical and political) core that can be found throughout its development and further articulation. Floridia's comparison with the idea and practice of participatory democracy is pivotal and with two main goals: to achieve a more complete critical and historical reconstruction and to contribute to an ongoing theoretical and political debate on two adjectives (participatory and deliberative) that are frequently used to describe democracy and yet often left indeterminate or, worse, mistaken for one another. Thanks to Floridia's book, deliberative democracy becomes an object of both the history of idea and the theoretical reflection on the status of our actual democracies.'
Nadia Urbinati, Columbia University
'A most welcome, timely and long overdue reconstruction of the birth of deliberative democracy from the rib of participatory democracy, much needed in the difficult times ahead. Floridia's brilliant narrative will inspire many, may teach something to many more, it is of interest to everyone.'
Alessandro Ferrara, University of Rome Tor Vergata
'This book should become a classic in the field. As the importance of deliberation in democracy becomes increasingly widely recognized, citizens and scholars alike will want to understand more about the genesis of the ideas of "deliberative democracy" and what those ideas imply. Based on careful research into the nooks and crannies of the intellectual evolution of these ideas, this book will stand for a long time as the definitive treatment of this history.'
Jane Mansbridge, Harvard University