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date: 29 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Many comparative scholars argue that deliberation has little or no role to play in managing deep national, ethnic, or linguistic divisions. In their view, seeking compromise across deep divides should be the exclusive preserve of political elites, since ordinary people will tend to be highly insecure and hence lack the capacity to deliberate meaningfully across deep divides. In this chapter, we want to consider, and indeed defend, the claim that deliberation has a vital role to play in deeply divided societies—not just in terms of shaping relationships between competing political elites, but also between elites and the ordinary citizens they claim to represent. To substantiate this argument, we draw on and contribute to a growing body of literature on deliberative consociation and deliberative democracy in divided societies that seeks to examine whether deliberation can help ethnic groups in conflict to deal democratically with their divisions.

Keywords: deliberative democracy, divided societies, ethnic outbidding, deliberative consociation, citizen deliberation

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