School of Historical and Philosophical Studies - Theses

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    Democracy at work in a gambling state? : a testing case for Habermas's proceduralism
    Berry, Elizabeth ( 2001)
    Jurgen Habermas's proceduralism is represented as a dynamic discursive model appropriate for normative analysis of complex modern constitutional democracies.^1 This discourse theoretical approach to the relationship between law and democracy focuses on the interplay between informal public sphere activity, and the formal deliberative processes, and legislative output. William Rehg has noted that the argument is "pitched at a very abstract level",^2 but has also referred to the fact that in Between Facts and Norms Habermas also "descends to the level of the real democratic procedure. ... "3 The, less formal level of Habermas's proceduralism has been further articulated in discussions and articles. The concern of this thesis has been to test this less formal level of Habermas's procedural model, and to reach some conclusion regarding the capacity for this theory to provide explanatory and/or critical insights into the social practices of a modern constitutional democracy. The less formal level of Habermas's procedural model has been tested against the background of gambling public sphere activity and gambling related legislative processes in the State of Victoria in different time periods. The conclusion has been reached that, while this test has revealed some problems for empirical analysis, and some limitations regarding the analysis of modern capitalist societies, the investigation undertaken here does, nevertheless, provide critical and explanatory insights into the way democracy works in a specific historical context. This is to certify that - (i) the thesis comprises only my original work except where indicated in the preface, (ii) due acknowledgement has been made in the text to all other material used, (iii) the thesis is 30,000 words in length, exclusive of endnotes, appendices and bibliography.