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.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Sociology and Political Science
- Political Science and International Relations