deliberative democracy

Deliberative democracy, also sometimes called discursive democracy, is a term used by political theorists, e.g. Jon Elster or Jürgen Habermas, to refer to any system of political decision making based on the implementation of some form of consensus decision making to improve or replace some or all aspects of representative democracy.

In contrast to the traditional economics-based, rational choice theory of democracy, which emphasizes voting as the central institution in democracy, deliberative democracy theorists argue that legitimate lawmaking can only arise from the public deliberation of the citizenry. Voting is seen as a form of force, where the majority simply bullies the minority, or simulates such bullying.

online political resources

In a deliberative democracy, choices and consequences are elaborated and debated by participants for a specified period of time leading up to a definite deadline of decision - a time horizon.
It may rely on judicial mechanisms, e.g. science courts that involve those with special expertise in adversarial process, but only to seek a consensus among parties who do not (necessarily) share this expertise.

A consensus democracy is a much stricter concept and is usually only practiced by religious and academic communities and intentional community, e.g. in a village protocol. However, raising consensus to a religious obligation is not a pre-requisite to use the methods:

Prominent advocates of secular deliberative models include Ralph Nader and Winona LaDuke - who authored the seven generations US Constitutional Amendment.

The Deliberative Democracy Consortium deliberative-democracy.net explores the potential of all such models and is the best source of cite links on deliberative democracy issues and problems.

As a refer link see en: wikipedia: deliberative democracy for general reference.