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Group Identity, Deliberative Democracy and Diversity in Education

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Abstract

Democratic deliberation places the burden of self-governance on its citizens to provide mutual justifying reasons (Gutmann & Thompson, 1996). This article concerns the limiting effect that group identity has on the efficacy of democratic deliberation for equality in education. Under conditions of a powerful majority, deliberation can be repressive and discriminatory. Issues of white flight and race-based admissions serve to illustrate the bias of which deliberation is capable when it fails to substantively take group identity into account. As forms of Gilbert's (1994) plural subjects, identity group members holding the group identity can experience agency as the freedom to believe together with members of their group. I argue that attending to how group members acquire group beliefs through trust is a reasonable accommodation of group identity in deliberation.

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