Author Biography

Dr. Graham Wright is an Associate Research Scientist at the Steinhardt Social Research Institute at Brandeis University


In recent years there has been a resurgence of interest in the work of Mary Parker Follett by scholars of management and public administration, but the acute relevance of Follett’s work to deliberative democracy has yet to be fully appreciated. In her 1918 work The New State Follett articulates a normative political theory that I refer to as Integrative democracy, which can be seen as an alternative formulation of deliberative democracy that is based on an activity that Follett refers to as integration rather than deliberation. In this paper I first present two contemporary challenges faced by deliberative democrats: how deliberation itself ought to be defined, and whether or not deliberation produces epistemic benefits in comparison to non-deliberative voting. I then show how Follett’s theory is able to respond to both of these criticisms. Finally, I discuss how Follett’s theory may need to be extended or modified to deal with challenges highlighted by the recent systemic turn in deliberative theory.