Chapter 11 Deliberative democracy in social entrepreneurship: a discourse ethics approach to participative processes of social change
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This chapter takes a critical look at the economic, cultural and political dimensions of social entrepreneurship, and the ethical risks in each dimension. Processes of democratic deliberation are then proposed, using a discourse ethics approach to self-determination as a way to mitigate the inherent risks. Specifically, the chapter suggests three processes at the heart of Habermas’ discourse ethics: political and communicative education; reflexivity; and facilitation of the ideal speech situation. Both education and reflexivity are necessary pre-processes for creating an ideal speech situation. The ideal speech situation itself then requires understanding-focused dialogue that aims to achieve opinion- and will-formation, where there is engagement with the ‘other’ and room for dissent. Together, political and communicative education, reflexivity, and facilitation of the ideal speech situation will create a more open and expanded viewpoint, where the organization’s values are not assumed or imposed on those they seek to help, with an approach that emphasizes self-determination and participation as moral equals.

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