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When deliberative theory meets empirical political science: theoretical and methodological challenges in political deliberation

Bächtiger, André and Hangartner, Dominik (2010) When deliberative theory meets empirical political science: theoretical and methodological challenges in political deliberation. Political Studies, 58 (4). pp. 609-629. ISSN 0032-3217

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Abstract

Re-linking deliberative theory with empirical political science has become a major theme in the discipline. But when philosophical concepts are to be integrated into positive political science, researchers confront both theoretical and methodological challenges. Focusing on deliberative democracy, a major theoretical challenge is the practical implementation of deliberative ideals. Comparative scholars have explored institutional contexts that favour deliberation, but they have largely neglected actor-centric and cultural variables that might affect deliberative quality as well. Focusing on legislatures in Switzerland and Germany, we show that political institutions as well as partisan strategies and status strongly affect deliberative action, while the effects of culture are less clear. Methodologically, one (frequently neglected) challenge concerns the appropriate statistical tools with which to study deliberation. On the one hand, analysing deliberative processes is demanding and time consuming; hence we tend to have only few and non-randomly selected cases at the group or context level. In addition, the real world of deliberation presents us with a complex matrix of cross-classified speakers. We demonstrate that Bayesian multi-level modelling provides an elegant way to tackle these methodological problems.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/%28...
Additional Information: © 2010 Political Studies Association
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JC Political theory
Sets: Departments > Government
Rights: http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/usingTheLibrary/academicSupport/OA/depositYourResearch.aspx
Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2012 13:28
URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/46517/

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