When War Adversaries Talk: The Experimental Effect of Engagement Rules on Postconflict Deliberation

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Abstract

A set of discussion groups including leftist ex-guerrillas and rightist ex-paramilitaries in Colombia shows the limits for democratic deliberation in postconflict societies, but also points to ways that outcomes closer to the deliberative ideal might be obtained. A total of 342 ex-combatants agreed to sit down and talk politics under a number of experimental conditions, using three different protocols of engagement. Results show that consensus rule fosters simultaneously a more reasoned and common-good–oriented, and less self-interested type of discussion when compared to majority rule and unstructured “free talk.” Nevertheless, while it might be desirable to promote a better quality of deliberation in divided societies, it does not necessarily prevent antagonists’ tendency to polarize.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-98
Number of pages22
JournalLatin American Politics and Society
Volume58
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations

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