Should Deliberative Democrats Eschew Modernist Social Science? (with Nabil Ansari & Mark Bevir). Political Studies. Online first: July 2022.
Article available here.
The empirical turn in the study of deliberative democracy raises a problem: deliberative democracy's conceptual premises are in tension with those of the social scientific approaches often used to study it. If deliberation is to function as a source of political legitimacy, we must treat citizens as intentional agents capable of reasoning. In contrast, modernist social science characteristically employs forms of explanation that bypass intentionality. Deliberative democrats thus risk theoretical inconsistency when they attempt to study deliberation using the techniques of modernist social science. The danger is that when deliberative democrats rely on modernist social science, they at least implicitly reinforce a fallacious belief in expertise at the expense of a more dialogic and democratic ethos. The concepts and the practical aims of deliberative democracy seem, therefore, to require a more interpretive social science.
What is a Deliberative System? A Tale of Two Ontologies (with Mark Bevir). European Journal of Political Theory. 22(3), 2023, pp. 445-464.
Article available here.
Deliberative systems theorists have not explained what a deliberative system is. There are two problems here for deliberative systems theory: an empirical problem of boundaries (how to delineate the content of a deliberative system) and a normative problem of evaluation (how to evaluate the deliberation within a deliberative system). We argue that an adequate response to these problems requires a clear ontology. The existing literature suggests two coherent but mutually exclusive ontologies. A functionalist ontology postulates self-sustaining deliberative systems with their own functional goals and logics independent of human intentionality. In contrast, an interpretive ontology conceives of deliberative systems as the products of the beliefs and actions of the actors in the relevant practices – deliberative systems derive from human intentionality. We conclude by showing how these conflicting ontologies lead to different empirical and normative agendas.
A Political Theory of Diaspora (with Anna Closas). (Under Review)
Interpreting Borders (Full Draft Available upon Request)
Interpretivism and Social Practices (with Mark Bevir). (Work in Progress)
Diasporic Commitments (with Kennedy Chi-pan Wong). (Work in Progress)