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The Crux of the Matter: the Intersection of Deliberative Traditions in the Wren Cross Controversy

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Author: Thomson, K. Bailey
Advisor: Schwartz, Joel D.
Committee Members: Brendese, Philip J., 1976-; McGovern, Charles
Issued Date: 2010-05-12
Subjects: Deliberative Democratic Theory
Wren Cross
Wren Chapel
Gene Nichol
Save the Wren Cross
Authority
Pluralism
Anglican History
College of William and Mary
Public Space
First Amendment
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10288/1978
Description: To understand the conflicts and ambiguities present in the cross controversy and the Wren Chapel itself, one must place them in the context of the conflicts and ambiguities present in the relevant histories and traditions that govern Wren as a space. The debates concerning the Wren Chapel fell into three rough categories: arguments about the purpose of universities, claims about the history of the Anglican Church, and inferences drawn from constitutional scholarship. As I will show, the participants in the Wren controversy, intentionally or otherwise, grounded their arguments in assumptions about these three traditions and their relevance to the Wren Chapel and the College. I trace the duality and conjugation of authority and pluralism in each of these traditions over time and the tensions present as authority and pluralism vacillate to and from dominance. Authoritative arguments emphasize that there is a single person or perspective that should dominate the resolution of a controversy. Pluralistic arguments, on the other hand, acknowledge a range of legitimate people or perspectives. I submit that to engage in effective deliberation is not just to acknowledge the premise that a plurality of views are legitimate, but also to admit elements of authority as the structure in which pluralism thrives. I suggest that discourse within and among these traditions, or meta-deliberation, allows cross-paradigmatic exploration for a more holistic decision-making process and means of illuminating the identity of spaces. Deliberation, particularly in the Wren Chapel case, has value because all the components present in the controversy are deliberative themselves. Each of the traditions I discuss is composed of authoritative and pluralistic elements, so the deliberative resolution must also embrace authoritative and pluralistic voices.
Degree: Bachelors of Arts in Government


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