Mansbridge, Jane. "A Minimalist Definition of Deliberation." Deliberation and Development: Rethinking the Role of Voice and Collective Action in Unequal Societies. Ed. Patrick Heller and Vijayendra Rao. World Bank, 2015, 27-49.


Provides a brief conceptual elaboration of the meaning of deliberation, the standards for good deliberation, the concept of a deliberative system, and the functions of such a system. The minimalist definition of deliberation—mutual communication that involves weighing and reflecting on preferences, values, and interests regarding matters of common concern—allows for an evolution of standards and considerable pluralism among discursive spaces with a deliberative system. Deliberation represents one of three decision-making mechanisms in a democratic society: voting, bargaining, and arguing (deliberation). Over the past three decades, understanding of development has shifted, from a narrow focus on economic transformation to a more holistic view, and concerns have come to include democracy itself as well as a broader conception of development that includes social development, justice, and environmental sustainability. As the field of deliberation and deliberative democracy has evolved, only two standards, respect and the absence of power, have remained unchallenged and unchanged.