Deliberation in Politics

In a recent article in Science, Noel Castree (2019) wrote: “If our elected politicians were able to deliberative more effectively, our democracies would be more representative, sharp political divisions would be ameliorated, the legitimacy of political decisions would be greater, and the reason for political action would be more robust.” The idea that politics could be more deliberative is strongly contested in contemporary political science. Many political scientists claim that politics is about power and instruments, not about rational argument and reasoned consensus. My research that under appropriate institutional, contextual, and partisan conditions–namely, coalition settings, second chambers, secrecy, low party discipline, low issue polarization, and the strong presence of moderate parties–genuine deliberation is possible in parliaments.

Key Publications

André Bächtiger and John Dryzek (2019). Improving Political Deliberation. Science, Vol. 364, Issue 6441, p. 643.

Dominik Wyss, Simon Beste, and André Bächtiger (2015). A Decline in the Quality of Debate? The Evolution of Cognitive Complexity in Swiss Parliamentary Debates on Immigration (1968-2014). Swiss Political Science Review 21: 636-653.

André Bächtiger (2014). Deliberation, Discourse, and the Study of Legislatures. In: Strøm, Kaare, Saalfeld, Thomas, and Shane Martin (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Legislative Studies, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Seraina Pedrini, André Bächtiger, and Marco R. Steenbergen (2013). Deliberative Inclusion of Minorities: Patterns of Reciprocity among Linguistic Groups in Switzerland. European Political Science Review 5: 483-512.

André Bächtiger and Dominik Hangartner (2010). When Deliberative Theory Meets Political Science. Theoretical and Methodological Challenges in the Study of a Philosophical Ideal. Political Studies 58: 609-629.

Jürg Steiner, André Bächtiger, Markus Spörndli and Marco R. Steenbergen (2004). Deliberative Politics in Action. Analysing Parliamentary Discourse. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Prof. Dr. Andre Baechtiger
Universität Stuttgart
Institut für Sozialwissenschaften

Breitscheidstr. 2
70174 Stuttgart

Phone: +49 711 685-81450
Fax: +49 711 685-83432