Review Article: Divided Societies and Deliberative Democracy

886 WordsJun 17, 20184 Pages
Among comparative scholars there is a continuing debate about which kinds of institutions would work best for stabilizing peace in ethnical divided societies. In general, they agree on the necessity of democratic institutions. The question is whether these institutions should be built on the principle of inclusion or moderation (O‘Flynn 2007: 731). O‘Flynn is reviewing the work of Arend Lijphart and Donald Horowitz, the two main characters of this debate. While Lijphart focuses on inclusion with his consociational democracy (ibid.: 734), Horowitz‘s incentives-based approach deals with moderation (ibid.: 736). The author enters the discussion by pointing out that inclusion and moderation are co-requirements for the fundamental issue of…show more content…
Similar to the reasoning of Dryzek (2005: 224) communication must be reflective in order to allow people to change their opinion. However, in post-conflict societies deep differences, ethnic cleavages, and hatred prevail. Even for Western democratic societies the assumption of broad reciprocity seems to be a normative desire rather than empirical evidence. Second, complete inclusion in terms of publicity is illusive. Nowadays, most societies are too big to allow each citizen to discuss all issues and policies, and arrive at a compromise. On the one hand, there is not enough time for everyone to participate, and, on the other hand, nothing would ever get done. Also, people must be interested in what is going on. It appears questionable to what extent it is possible to motivate the public discourse. The interest in the happening has to come from the society itself. In addition, this interest probably varies from one individual to another and from topic to topic. Therefore, taking the entire diversity of public views and opinions into account is not functional. Third, there is no electoral system that translates the voters‘ preferences exactly into electoral results. Besides the sheer feasibility problem, there is the option of manipulating the electoral system in favor of a certain ethnic group, gerrymandering, or the usage of suffrage restrictions (Dryzek 2005: 226). Thus, the

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