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.
Democratic Engagement, Agonistic Pluralism and the Question of Exclusion," Philosophy and Social Criticism 38, 1 (2012): 87-88.