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Deliberative Democracy and Divided Societies

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


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This book presents a philosophical argument about deliberative democracy and its relevance to the resolution of deadly ethnic conflicts. It is the first major work to examine such conflicts from a deliberative perspective, and shows how a proper respect for deliberative norms and procedures can enable the citizens of divided societies to foster and sustain a stronger sense of common national identity. More specifically, its central claim is that deliberative norms can enable divided societies to balance the need to recognise competing ethnic claims with the need to create an overarching civic nationality. Although the book is primarily philosophical, it uses a broad range of illustrative examples to support its basic claims, including the cases of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Lebanon, Macedonia, Northern Ireland and South Africa. It also explores the normative implications of deliberative democracy for questions of institutional design. In particular, it shows how the consociational model should be amended so that citizens are left free to shape their own relation to the polity. In creating this freedom, the book argues that a deliberative democracy provides guidance as to how the citizens of a divided society can reconstruct their relationship to each other and the state, thereby strengthening the transition from ethnic conflict to democracy.

Publication metadata

Author(s): O'Flynn I

Publication type: Authored Book

Publication status: Published

Year: 2006

Number of Pages: 181

Publisher: Edinburgh University Press

Place Published: Edinburgh

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 1403977534