citizens collectively changed the legal interpretation of political equality and its enforcement. To the extent that critical theory is defined by an ideal of consensus, its proponents search for greater democracy-that is, for increased scope for public deliberation and popular sovereignty.
The example of the civil rights movement reveals a further aspect of the public practice of reform. According to the model I have developed, public actors and movements emerge in the public sphere and change institutions, particularly those "new" social movements that contest the very nature and definition of "normal" politics. But the civil rights movement also shows the ambiguities of the public sphere and democratic deliberation as they are now constituted. The current constitutional state and its institutions are not as open or as "porous" as dualist democracy demands. Furthermore, the public process of inclusion and reform has been much more difficult for the movement to bring about than has mere legislative success. Both citizens and the state have also used many avenues inside and outside institutions to resist enforcing civil rights legislation. My approach's mixture of reconstructive and pragmatic elements can help to analyze the historical ambiguities of such processes and outcomes. When it is both descriptive and normative in this way, a theory of public deliberation permits a better critical understanding of actual deliberation. As neither normal social science nor a recipe for political action, this critical approach can identity potentials and barriers to citizens who seek to expand their opportunities for effective public deliberation.
Historically, many different democratic reforms have improved the conditions of deliberation. In view of the varied and complex circumstances of public deliberation, it is not surprising that monistic accounts of democracy, such as those based on the single principle of maximizing direct citizen participation, are unable to guide criticism and reform. In institutions that operate through large-scale spatial and temporal processes, for example, it is more important to make the division of labor more democratic than to abolish it for the sake of maximizing more direct participation. Nor is it always the case that openness to the observing public of spectators always promotes the quality of deliberation in reprentative bodies. In fact, "sunshine laws" meant to promote publicity have arguably increased representatives'
Deliberative Democracy and Its Critics
strategic posturing to the gallery, thus decreasing the quality of reasoned argument and informed debate in legislative bodies as well as the representatives' willingness to compromise.? These examples show that some seemingly appropriate reform efforts may have perverse consequences for public deliberation. I have already noted how participatory arrangements may sometimes only worsen social inequalities and cultural conflicts, especially when they reinforce existing inequalities of social influence, community-wide biases, and shared unreflective assumptions. Above all, reforms that do not address the phenomenon of political poverty will not help those who are least effective in deliberation.
That said, it is certainly true that current arrangements in most complex democracies do not promote the sort of public deliberation that is needed in complex and pluralistic societies. Important issues related to social inequalities and their impact on democratic decision making have hardly been addressed, and threats to eliminate the welfare state, rather than make it more accountable to the public and its clients, only exacerbate the problem. I have proposed a number of ways to correct for deliberative inequalities. Similarly, I have proposed solving the problems of pluralism through changing voting practices and through creating distinct local jurisdictions in some cases of enormous inequalities. It is clear that winner-take-all, one-person-one-vote elections will produce permanent minorities in the absence of institutional reforms and changes in voting procedures. Furthermore, moral compromises of the sort that I have proposed as solutions to deep moral conflicts have yet to become common in the public sphere; under current conditions they will be viewed with suspicion by opposing parties, who will see them only as another instance of their losing ground rather than finding common ground with others. The escalation of power in institutions due to complexity also remains unaddressed. Only through the concerted efforts of many citizens, such as AIDS activists, have there been any notable successes in harnessing powerful institutions (such as scientific review of human experimentation) under public control and accountability. As the case of AIDs activism shows, this success depends on finding the proper points in the long chains of complex interactions that are open to deliberative intervention by the public and its legitimate interests.