Deliberative democracy now dominates the theory, reform, and study of democracy. Working at its cutting edges, Foundations and Frontiers of Deliberative Governance reaches from conceptual underpinnings to the key challenges faced in applications to ever-increasing ranges of problems and issues. Following a survey of the life and times of deliberative democracy, the turns it has taken, and the logic of deliberative systems, contentious foundational issues receive attention. How can deliberative legitimacy be achieved in large-scale societies where face-to-face deliberation is implausible? What can and should representation mean in such systems? What kinds of communication should be valued, and why? How can competing appeals of pluralism and consensus in democratic politics be reconciled?
New concepts are developed along the way: discursive legitimacy, discursive representation, systemic tests for rhetoric in democratic communication, and several forms of meta-consensus. Particular forums (be they legislative assemblies or designed mini-publics) have an important place in deliberative democracy, but more important are macro-level deliberative systems that encompass the engagement of discourses in the public sphere as well as formal and informal institutions of governance. Deliberative democracy can be applied fruitfully in areas previously off-limits to democratic theory: networked governance, the democratization of authoritarian states, and global democracy, as well as in new ways to invigorate citizen participation. In these areas and more, deliberative democracy out-performs its competitors.