Deliberative discussion and languages in the world social forum process

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How do activists in groups associated with the World Social Forum (WSF) and European Social Forum (ESF) processes deal with the perceived trade-offs between participatory, deliberative democracy and efficiency in multilingual meetings? Scholars who have studied practices of democracy in social movements have found that even at the national level, groups may perceive practices of participatory democracy and “deliberative talk” as time inefficient: “Participatory democracy, no surprise, usually takes longer than adversarial decision making. It demands more patience, energy, and time on the part of its participants” (Polletta 2002: 12). Researchers who study feminist experiments with participatory democracy have proposed that decision making should be particularly slow, consensual, and inclusive in those discussion moments in which it touches upon “foundational” questions, issues, or rules of working together (Chambers 1995: 173). This should be especially true for movements that seek to overcome social inequalities (see, for example, Snyder 2006; Wood 2005).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook on World Social Forum Activism
Number of pages19
PublisherTaylor and Francis/Routledge
Publication date1 Jan 2015
ISBN (Print)9781594519468
ISBN (Electronic)9781317258308
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, Taylor & Francis.

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