The recent attention of peace studies scholars to the role of the "public" parallels an increased interest of democratic theorists in the legitimacy of "mini-publics:" initiatives that bring small groups of citizens together to discuss policy issues. In fact, democratic activists and peace activists who seek to engage the public face similar theoretical and practical challenges. The purpose of this article is to contribute to an emerging dialogue between the disciplines of democratic theory and peace studies. Such a dialogue can be beneficial in at least two ways: it allows an exploration of the role of legitimacy in public peace processes and the burdens that legitimacy put on the institutional design of such processes, and it allows an exploration of more ambitious models of public participation in the peace process.

Author Bio(s)

Amit Ron is an assistant professor of political science in Arizona State University at the West campus. He works on democratic theory and particularly on the relationship between legitimacy, deliberation, institutions, and social power. He recently published another article that explores the relationship between peace processes and the public sphere in The International Journal of Peace Studies (2009). Email: amit.ron@asu.edu


democratic theory, dialogue, mini-publics, models of public peace process, peace studies, public participation

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