Deliberative Democracy in Post-Conflict Societies

Posted: 22 Feb 2011


No study to date has addressed the potential of deliberative democracy in post-conflict societies. Merging basic insights from deliberative democratic theory with observations of empirical reality in post-conflict societies, I advance a model of deliberation in post-conflict societies based on the following arguments. First, I argue that deliberative democracy is not only possible in post-conflict societies, nor is it merely desirable in the normative sense. Post-conflict context provides a window of opportunity for deliberative processes to initiate, which, in turn, is a necessity if post-conflict societies are to transform the deadlocks of civil war. However, we cannot speak of deliberative democracy in post-conflict societies as a rationality-based process. Rational, dispassionate deliberation cannot be expected in the context of enduring civil violence. Any theory of deliberative democracy in post-conflict societies, therefore, must recognize traumatic experiences and motivations associated with violence. This means that we cannot simply start at the state level and expect ‘the people’ to adhere to the institutional provisions introducing deliberative democratic processes. The potential for deliberative democracy in post-conflict societies lies in civilian post-conflict transformation, with creative entry points for deliberative democracy both recognizing post-conflict context and providing the platform for deliberative processes to set off.

Suggested Citation

Shesterinina, Anastasia, Deliberative Democracy in Post-Conflict Societies. Western Political Science Association 2011 Annual Meeting Paper , Available at SSRN:

Anastasia Shesterinina (Contact Author)

University of Sheffield ( email )

17 Mappin Street
Sheffield, Sheffield S1 4DT
United Kingdom

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