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Deliberating Across Deep Divides

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Ian O'FlynnORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


800x600 Normal 0 false false false EN-GB X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 Deeply divided societies would seem infertile ground for mass deliberation. 'Enclave deliberation', among people on the same side, may well occur. But people on opposing sides may not trust one another. They may not listen with an open mind. They may regard the other side’s arguments as insincere cover for sectional interests. They may have an all too vivid sense of what the other side wants but not see how it could reasonably want it. In Rawlsian terms, the opposing camps may have trouble viewing one another as reasonable people engaging in reasonable disagreements. But perhaps we underestimate the deliberative capacities of ordinary citizens, even in deeply divided societies. This paper examines a Deliberative Poll (DP) in the Omagh area of Northern Ireland, a society only recently emerged from protracted violence, reflecting and reinforcing the deep divide between Catholics and Protestants. The topic—the future of the local schools—was one on which many of the issues were heavily impinged by the Catholic-Protestant divide. We examine the extent to which a representative sample, including both Catholics and Protestants, was able to deliberate constructively and how the experience changed their policy attitudes and their opinions of one another.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Luskin R, O'Flynn I, Fishkin J, Russell D

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Political Studies

Year: 2014

Volume: 62

Issue: 1

Pages: 116-135

Print publication date: 01/03/2014

Online publication date: 06/12/2012

Acceptance date: 05/05/2012

Date deposited: 03/10/2013

ISSN (print): 0032-3217

ISSN (electronic): 1467-9248

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9248.2012.01005.x


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