There is No Pill for Deliberation. Explaining Discourse Quality in Postconflict Communities

Forthcoming in Swiss Political Science Review

42 Pages Posted: 20 Nov 2015

See all articles by Juan Ugarriza

Juan Ugarriza

Universidad del Rosario

Enzo Nussio

Center for Security Studies, ETH Zurich

Date Written: November 18, 2015

Abstract

Recent experimental research suggests that ordinary citizens are capable of behaving in a democratic and deliberative way in controversial political debates, when given the right instructions. In this study, we test the potential of such instructions in contexts where levels of polarization, conflict and social marginalization are high. Using a randomized controlled experimental design, we test the effect of encouraging members of marginalized and conflict-affected communities in Colombia to live up to the deliberative ideal, including free participation, mutual respect, justification of arguments, and contributing to the common good. Results indicate that deliberative instructions have a positive effect on intervention levels, but fail to increase discourse quality. We also find that socio-economic differences (especially education and gender), as well as inter-group trust dynamics, explain much of the variation in discourse quality. Promoting deliberative democracy under unfavorable conditions might therefore require a combination of short-term policy measures aimed at increasing communal trust, long-term efforts to improve schooling levels, and ensuring constraint-free participation. There is, however, no treatment yet that can ensure deliberation success.

Keywords: deliberation, democracy, experiment, post-conflict, discourse, reintegration, reconciliation, Colombia

Suggested Citation

Ugarriza, Juan and Nussio, Enzo, There is No Pill for Deliberation. Explaining Discourse Quality in Postconflict Communities (November 18, 2015). Forthcoming in Swiss Political Science Review, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2692648

Juan Ugarriza (Contact Author)

Universidad del Rosario ( email )

Calle 12 No. 6-25
Bogota, DC
Colombia

Enzo Nussio

Center for Security Studies, ETH Zurich ( email )

Haldeneggsteig 4
Zurich, Zurich 8006
Switzerland

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