Islam, Democracy and Dialogue in Turkey
Deliberating in Divided Societies
by Bora Kanra
(Ashgate, 2009) 192 pp.
Most theorists of deliberative democracy treat deliberation as a procedure in decision-making. This approach neglects an important phase oriented not so much to decision-making but to social learning and understanding. Combining deliberative theory with research from social psychology, Bora Kanra has developed an innovative critique and synthesis by allocating social learning its own formal sphere. For deliberative democracy to produce better outcomes, decision-making needs to be reinforced by opportunities for social learning.
Stressing the importance of the development of democratic dialogue in divided societies, Kanra tests his claims of a new deliberative framework by analyzing interaction between Islamic and secular discourses in the Turkish public sphere. This in-depth analysis of converging and diverging political beliefs and traditions between seculars and Islamists emphasizes the importance of social learning in a sharply divided society.
1. Deliberation as Social Learning
2. Background to the Case of Turkey
3. The Q Study
4. Discourse Analysis
5. Discourse Comparison
6. Prospects for New Forms of Cooperation
7. Further Reflections on Social Learning
Bora Kanra is Postdoctoral Fellow at the Australian National University, Australia. He is participating in ANU's research program on "Deliberative Democracy & Global Governance" with professor John Dryzek & professor Robert Goodin. See his paper on "Binary Deliberation: Enhancing the Role of Social Learning in Deliberative Democracy."