‘titrebSummary’/titrebAWhen Emilile Durkheim has not written sociological texts on democracy, her work seems to be topical both on the side of neo-republican theorists and among those supporting deliberative democracy. This article aims to explain this paradox by reconstructing the durkheimian conception of political democracy. It involves three channels of democratic communication, within the state, between the state and civil society and within it. Only the former involves deliberation, in the dual sense that the term has in French (discussion and decision). The paternalistic nature of the durkheimian vision is demonstrated in particular in the thematicisation of democracy-specific illnesses. It is reflected in contemporary republican inspiration. While Durkheim is moving closer to theories of deliberative democracy through a decrypted vision of democracy and by the place given to reflection in the political link, it moves away from it by not building a concept of public space. However, Durkheim’s detour makes it possible to highlight some of the sociological difficulties and challenges facing deliberative democracy.