Community and democracy in South Africa : liberal versus communitarian perspectives

Waghid, Yusef (2002-12)

Thesis (PhD)--University of Stellenbosch, 2002.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The tradition of liberalism in South Africa has played a significant role in shaping the country's multi-party democracy. Yet, there are several gaps within the tradition of liberalism which can be associated with an aversion towards majority rule, equalising opportunities through affirmative action measures, and a focus on securing political rights as opposed to substantive rights for all citizens. It is my contention that weaknesses within the liberal tradition could be minimised if a more credible conception of liberalism is constructed within the parameters of a deliberative framework of democracy. In this dissertation I make an argument for a defensible form of liberalism which can be achieved through a rational, reflexive discourse-oriented procedure of deliberative democracy. Deliberative democracy in turn can engender a form of citizenship which recognises the need for citizens to care, reason and engage justly in political conversation with others. KEYWORDS: Liberalism, communitarianism, deliberative democracy and South Africa.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die tradisie van liberalisme in Suid-Afrika het 'n noemenswaardige bydrae gelewer tot die totstandkoming van die land se veelparty demokratiese bestel. Afgesien hiervan, verskyn daar vele gapings binne die liberale tradisie wat hoogstens vereenselwig kan word met 'n teenkanting teen meerderheidsregering, skepping van gelyke geleenthede deur regstellende aksies en 'n fokus eerder om politieke regte liewer as ook substantiewe regte vir alle burgers te bekom. Ek redeneer dat tekortkominge binne die liberale tradisie geminimaliseer kan word indien 'n meer vededigbare begrip van liberalisme gekonstrueer word binne die perke van 'n beredeneerde demokratiese raamwerk. Ek voer aan dat 'n verdedigbare vorm van liberalisme bewerkstellig kan word deur 'n rasionele, refleksiewe diskoersgeoriënteerde prosedure van beredeneerde demokrasie. Op die beurt kan beredeneerde demokrasie 'n vorm van burgerskap teweegbring wat die belangrikheid van omgee en redenering erken, en ook terselfdertyd burgers betrek op 'n geregverdige wyse in gesprekvoeing met ander persone. SLEUTELWOORDE: Liberalisme, gemeenskapsgerigte liberalisme, beredeneerde demokrasie en Suid-Afrika.

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