Redesign democratic debates
Keywords:democracy, concensus, dissensus, debate, design
many scholars have stressed throughout history, healthy public debates are key to the revitalisation of democracy. There is currently a genuine cry to steer away from polarized debates and to work towards consensus. Over time philosophers such as Aristotle (384-322 BC), Arendt (1958), and Mouffe (2000, 2005), have convincingly argued that struggle, torment and dispute are an essential part of a healthy democracy, and that there is a need to design rules to enable these conflicts to be retained. How could design offer us the means, tools and spaces to better articulate differences, and to tackle current polarized debates? We will first sketch how public debates have evolved over time, mapping out the rules that were designed to prevent conflicts from getting out of hand. After that we will investigate a case study and based on the insights generated, try to demonstrate how design could offer us meaningful tools for constructive debates.