Deliberative systems have been proposed as a way of conceiving the complexity of real world policy making in deliberative terms. However, there is a concern that in doing so they blunt the critical edge of deliberative ideals. This paper advances an alternative concept – the ‘network’ of deliberative exchanges – that can encompass real world complexity without sacrificing deliberation’s normative bite. It sets out the components of a network approach, making clear how these are grounded in deliberative principle. It then shows how the network model can apply to actual policy processes, with an extended case study - a critique of the key stages in the Thatcher government’s decision to adopt a poll tax in the UK.
- Deliberation, Democracy, Deliberative systems, Policy networks, Political Theory, Policy making.