The second weakness--believing that an exaggerated consensus can be created through participation--is remedied with insights drawn from agonistic pluralism.
Second, I rethink the concept of participatory democracy in light of three strands of recent democratic theory: feminist critiques of gendered conceptions of democracy, agonistic pluralism, and deliberative democracy.
My suggestions for overcoming the crucial weaknesses draw upon insights from feminist understandings of democracy, agonistic pluralism, and deliberative democracy.
The good news for those interested in participatory democratic theory, however, is that ideas from feminist theorizing on democracy, agonistic pluralism, and deliberative democracy can be used to address these weaknesses.
Agonistic pluralism, a branch of radical, plural democracy, provides insights that can help to overcome classical participatory democracy's second weakness --the assumption of exaggerated societal consensus.
Agonistic pluralism therefore can serve as an important corrective to participatory theory, ensuring that the operation of power relations is never ignored even in organizations with governance procedures that include direct democracy.
Mouffe's agonistic pluralism, while also accentuating local and decentralized democracy, has no legitimating force and breadth of perspective.
Their absence in Mouffe's agonistic pluralism risks condoning authoritarian behavior and decisions or practices that are participatory only in name (that is, that reflect "mere agreement," as opposed to "rational consensus").
63) As was the case earlier, it is difficult to attribute this "should therefore be challenged" clause to much more than a kind of voluntarism, a voluntarism that is not immanent to her agonistic pluralism but is external to it: an add-on.
The implication for Third World politics is that endorsing both Mouffe's critique of Habermas and her agonistic pluralism would mean accepting the associated risks and costs of voluntarism and relativism; and on the other side, sanctioning both Habermas's critique of poststructuralism and his deliberative democracy would mean supporting his tendency toward the erasure of difference.