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Deliberative Pragmatic Equilibrium Review: A Framework for Comparing Institutional Devices and their Enactment of Deliberative Democracy in the UK

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Stephen ElstubORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


A range of institutional mechanisms have been advocated to ensure the practical application of deliberative democracy, and these are now being employed in practice throughout the UK. However, different institutional mechanisms will be suited to the enactment of variant democratic principles and will be able to adapt to some features of complexity and not others. This means certain institutional devices will be able to operate effectively at different levels of governance, but not at others, and contribute to some, but not all, stages of a decision-making sequence, within different political systems. A comprehensive and systematic comparison of the relationship these institutions have to deliberative democracy is therefore required so that these institutions can be effectively sequenced to ensure all the key elements of deliberative democracy are enacted in the UK political system, at each level of governance and stage of decision-making. This paper therefore develops the ‘Deliberative Pragmatic Equilibrium Review’ (DePER) framework to enable such a comparison of institutional mechanisms, with respect to how they enact key principles of deliberative democracy, by combining normative and empirical analysis through the employment of Fung’s (2007a) ‘pragmatic equilibrium’ approach. The framework is applicable to all political systems, but is here tailored specifically for institutional comparison in the UK, although it is not applied to concrete cases in this paper.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Elstub S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: British Journal of Politics and International Relations

Year: 2014

Volume: 16

Issue: 3

Pages: 386-409

Print publication date: 01/08/2014

Online publication date: 30/01/2013

Acceptance date: 01/01/2013

Date deposited: 02/03/2016

ISSN (print): 1369-1481

ISSN (electronic): 1467-856X

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell


DOI: 10.1111/1467-856X.12000


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