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Deliberative Acts

Democracy, Rhetoric, and Rights

By Arabella Lyon

Publication Year: 2013

The twenty-first century is characterized by the global circulation of cultures, norms, representations, discourses, and human rights claims; the arising conflicts require innovative understandings of decision making. Deliberative Acts develops a new, cogent theory of performative deliberation. Rather than conceiving deliberation within the familiar frameworks of persuasion, identification, or procedural democracy, it privileges speech acts and bodily enactments that constitute deliberation itself reorienting deliberative theory toward the initiating moment of recognition, a moment in which interlocutors are positioned in relationship to each other and so may begin to construct a new life world. By approaching human rights not as norms or laws, but as deliberative acts, Lyon conceives rights as relationships among people and as ongoing political and historical projects developing communal norms through global and cross-cultural interactions.

Published by: Penn State University Press

Series: Rhetoric and Democratic Deliberation

Cover Front

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p. 1-1

Title Page, Series Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5

Table of Contents

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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-viii

At a Christmas party in 2008, in discussing the recent election of Barack Obama, a stranger expressed both his pleasure at the election’s outcome and his concern for who the man might prove to be. I was surprised; I thought the election said less about Obama and more about the character of the American citizen. ...

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Introduction: Deliberation in the Global Era

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pp. 1-28

Shall we speak of Abu Ghraib and torture; shall we educate the children of illegal immigrants; shall we guarantee health care for all or for most; shall we intervene in the governance of other nations; shall we ban the hijab (head scarf), medicinal marijuana, and prayer in the schools; shall we find one hundred million missing women, the lost boys of Africa, ...

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Chapter 1: Defining Deliberative Space: Rethinking Persuasion, Position, and Identification

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pp. 29-65

To do or not to do, that is the question—Aristotle’s founding question for political speech or deliberation.1 For in doing, or even not doing, in speech or act, one might make one’s presence known to others, but more than making presence, one also creates the possibilities of position, space, situation, recognition, event, experience, and sundry unknown contingencies. ...

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Chapter 2: Performative Deliberation and the Narratable Who

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pp. 66-102

On 26 March 2011, bursting the boundaries between Libyan citizens and Western journalists at the Rixos Hotel, Libyan lawyer Eman al-Obeidi reported her repeated gang rapes, two days of captivity, and assault by fifteen Gaddafi soldiers. She told the foreign press corps, “Look at what Gaddafi’s militia did to me.” ...

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Chapter 3: Narrating Rights, Creating Agents: Missing Women in the U.S. Media

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pp. 103-126

Ur-narratives and local discourses constrain deliberations on human rights. If there exist normative declarations to protect rights, it is unclear how these declarations are made into an international will for enacting rights. Political purposes, more than normative justice, may dominate rights deliberations. ...

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Chapter 4: The Beauty of Arendt’s Lies: Menchú’s Political Strategy

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pp. 127-150

I sit reading Al Franken’s Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right. Written on a fellowship at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy, this book responds to the lies of the right, exemplified by Ann Coulter’s Slander: Liberal Lies about the American Right. ...

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Chapter 5: Voting like a Girl: Declarations, Paradoxes of Deliberation, and Embodied Citizens as a Difference in Kind

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pp. 151-182

In deliberation, there are moments of joint action leading to cultural change, and these moments are part of why “procedure” and “process” are controlling metaphors within much of deliberative theory. The metaphors appeal with their spatiotemporal implications, i.e., a linear timeline, which give one kind of narrative power to descriptions of deliberative events, sequences, and endings. ...


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pp. 183-196

Works Cited

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pp. 197-214


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pp. 215-222

Cover Back

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p. 232-232

E-ISBN-13: 9780271061177
Print-ISBN-13: 9780271059747
Print-ISBN-10: 0271059745

Page Count: 232
Publication Year: 2013

Series Title: Rhetoric and Democratic Deliberation