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EU sortition assembly and legitimacy 5

August 8, 2017

a.) Interpersonal legitimacy

In contrast with the preceding form of legitimacy, the interpersonal form corresponds to those deliberative factors operative between persons which confer legitimacy on any conclusions at which the persons arrive and put forward as a group. In other words, we seek to determine what relations persons must maintain towards others’ preferences and objectives in order to confer legitimacy upon group deliberation. We contend that interpersonal legitimacy has one basic shape which can be declined in any number of ways: “reflective assent” (Dryzek 2001, 2010), reasoned agreement (Cohen 1998), justification to those affected (Gutmann 1996), “mutual justification” (Lafont 2015), “metaconsensus” (Dryzek and Niemeyer 2006), acceptable procedure (Gutmann and Thompson 1996). We further maintain that each evinces concern for two conditions: reciprocity and collective autonomy.

For the sake of brevity, we shall retain only Lafont (2015)’s proposal as the most synthetic of the forms above. She writes thereof:

At the core of the idea of a deliberative democracy is the notion of mutual justification […] According to this view, public deliberation contributes to democratic legitimacy to the extent that it enables citizens to endorse the laws and policies to which they are subject as their own. This is the internal connection between public deliberation and the democratic ideal of self-government. To the extent that citizens can mutually justify the political coercion they exercise over one another, they can achieve political autonomy […]. (Lafont 2015: 45)

Herein, we find most components identified by the other forms given above: assent to objectives or procedures, mutual address of reasons, audience of the public affected. Lafont (2013) further specifies the ideal of mutual justification as persons’ “ow[ing] one another justifications based on reasons that everyone can reasonably accept for coercive policies with which they all must comply” (402) and balancing their “right to include [their own] cognitive stances with the need to secure reasons acceptable to everyone” in deliberation” (425).

In sum, mutual justification, and the ideals which it glosses, comprises important parts of “reciprocity” (Gutmann and Thompson 1996: Ch. 2, cited in Parkinson 2006: 150) and “collective autonomy” (Karpowitz and Raphael 2014: Ch. 1). Reciprocity provides that each person has the opportunity to share her preferences, objectives and reasons therefor with every other while collective autonomy ensures each person is aware thereof and has reflected thereon before arriving at a given conclusion as a group. When these conditions are in place, interpersonal legitimacy is secured; both the group and an observer would have reason either to accept their conclusion out or to entertain it seriously as a possibility. By extension, we should also inquire whether a deliberative forum also fosters interpersonal legitimacy in the broader public sphere.

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