Deliberation and polarization: a multi-disciplinary review

Didier Caluwaerts, Kamil Bernaerts, Rebekka Kesberg, Bram Spruyt, Felicity Turner-Zwinkels

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paper

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Deliberative democracy has often been heralded as a cure for political polarization. This paper aims to take stock of the research on deliberation and polarization across multiple disciplines. Based on the systematic review, this paper reports several findings. First, we argue that deliberation does not consistently reduce polarization. A large number of studies finds after all, that discussion in group can actually increase polarization. Second, our analysis shows that that much more work needs to be done to unravel and test the exact causal mechanism underlying the polarization-reducing effects of deliberation. Finally, we find that contextual and deliberative design factors (group composition, facilitation, issue salience) matter greatly for reducing polarization.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2021 ECPR General Conference (online)
Number of pages25
Publication statusUnpublished - 2021


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