Jurgen Habermas is the author of one of the most comprehensive, ambitious and debated projects in social theory of the 20th century. His deep-seated theory and penetrating analysis arouse attention in ever-wider circles. Yet his books and articles are not always easily accessible, even to those with prior knowledge of his theories. This title provides a comprehensive overview of Habermas' work. It explores the way in which his theories have developed and changed in the last twenty years, leading to an exposition of his more complex ideas and theories. In the first part of the book, the authors introduce the basic categories for analyzing action and society, as these terms are conceived in Habermas' theory of communicative action: rationality and action; morality; and the distinction between society as system and as life-world. The second part addresses the themes of rights, public deliberation, the system of law and democracy, and how they are related. It also looks at the role and salience of the public sphere in a democratic system and at the complex set of procedures regulating processes of deliberation and decision making.
In a final chapter the authors address the question of how institutions can be designed to facilitate problem solving and conflict-resolution in a communicative manner.
Table of Contents
Introduction - Part One: Action theory and the theory of society - Rationality and action - The concept of communicative action - Discourse ethics - Systems and the life-world - Part Two: Law, politics and discourse theory - Towards a deliberative model of democracy - The legitimacy of law - The political process - Public opinion-formation, and rational politics - Communicative design
Erik Oddvar Eriksen and Jarle Weigard are both based at ARENA (Advanced Research on the Europeanisation of the Nation State), University of Oslo, Norway.