Over the next months, Items will publish essays based on research presented at a spring workshop on the theme “Democratic Participation: A Broken Promise?” cosponsored by the SSRC’s Anxieties of Democracy program’s Participation group and the German-based Democratic Anxieties. Claudia Landwehr, co-organizer of Democratic Anxieties, describes the fraught efforts of democracy to deal with “disturbances”—deep tensions that put at risk agreement on democratic procedures and the norms of reciprocity that undergird it. Landwehr argues for practices of “meta-deliberation” to draw publics into discussion about the norms through which reciprocity and procedural consensus are produced.
Claudia Landwehr is a professor of public policy at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. Her work focuses on the evolution of democratic institutions and the distributional consequences of institutional design. Before joining the faculty at Mainz, she was a Schumpeter Fellow at the Goethe University Frankfurt, a visiting scholar at Harvard University and the Australian National University, and a junior research fellow at the University of Hamburg, where she obtained her doctoral degree in 2007. She is the author of Political Conflict and Political Preferences: Communicative Action Between Facts, Norms and Interests (ECPR Press, 2009) and has published articles in the Journal of Political Philosophy, Governance, European Journal of Political Research and numerous other journals. Her most recent publications deal with challenges of strategic institutional design (Government & Opposition, 2016), citizens’ conflicting normative conceptions of democracy (Political Studies, forthcoming) and the necessity of preserving the procedural consensus through democratic meta-deliberation (Political Studies, 2015).