Review Article: Divided Societies and Deliberative Democracy Essay

Review Article: Divided Societies and Deliberative Democracy Essay

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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 political equality. He offers a perspective of deliberative democracy in which equality is the basic premise followed by moderation and inclusion and, consequently, leading to stability in the long run (ibid.: 731-732). Moderation, being concerned with how to justify political decisions, is supposed to be reached through reciprocity. When people listen to each other open-mindedly and behave rationally, they will shift their position to the better argument (ibid.: 740). Inclusion, dealing with the scope of the justification, can be obtained through publicity. This is about creating a public sphere in which the people are able to discuss political topics across ethnic cleavages (ibid.: 744).
Deriving from this short summary, I state the hypothesis that the key points of deliberative democracy are too ideal to be applied to deeply divided societies. Instead of being a system, it is similar to a protocol on how people should behave when they are confronted with having to resolve a conflict and having...


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...rks Cited

Dryzek, John S., 2005: Deliberative Democracy in Divided Societies: Alternatives to Agonism and Analgesia. Political Theory 33(2): 218-242.
Horowitz, Donald L., 2008.: Conciliatory Institutions and Constitutional Processes in Post- Conflict States. William and Mary Law Review 49(4): 1213-1248.
Lijphart, Arend, 2004: Constitutional Design for Divided Societies. Journal of Democracy 15(2): 96-109.
O‘Flynn, Ian, 2007: Review Article: Divided Societies and Deliberative Democracy. British Journal of Political Science 37(04): 731-751.
Powell, Robert D., 2006: War as a Commitment Problem. International Organization 60 (Winter): 169-203.
Sisk, Timothy D., 1996: Power Sharing and International Mediation in Ethnic Conflicts. Washington, D.C.: United States Institute of Peace, U.S., Chapter 3: Democracy and Its Alternatives in Deeply Divided Societies: 27-45.

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