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Does Culture Matter for Deliberation? Linguistic Speech Cultures and Parliamentary Deliberation in Switzerland

This 27-page case study, Does Culture Matter for Deliberation? Linguistic Speech Cultures and Parliamentary Deliberation in Switzerland by Seraina Pedrini, was published in the Journal of Public Deliberation: Vol. 11: Iss. 1. The study explores the effects of culture on parliamentary deliberation in Switzerland.

Even though culture is seen as an important aspect of deliberation, empirical research on culture’s effects on deliberation is almost completely absent. This paper offers one of the first systematic empirical studies of cultural underpinnings on deliberation. It explores two conceptions of culture, namely ‘holistic’ vs. ‘contextual’. In the ‘holistic’ approach, culture is assumed to be a constant, while the ‘contextual’ approach assumes adaptive rationality of actors to different contexts. As an extension of the ‘contextual’ approach, this paper also explores the effects of different compositions of cultural groups on the quality of deliberation. The effects of the two approaches are evaluated by linking linguistic groups in the committee and plenary debates of the Swiss parliament to a broad variety of deliberative standards. The findings reveal that linguistic groups do not differ much in their deliberative behaviour, which defies ‘holistic’ approaches to culture. Rather, the results underline that speech culture is highly context-driven, which is indicative of a ‘contextual’ approach to culture. However, culture still plays a role, but mainly in the context of group composition: the proportion of minority-language speakers affects several deliberative indicators such as respect, common good orientation and clarifying questions.

Download the case study from the Journal of Public Deliberation here.

About the Journal of Public Deliberation
Journal of Public DeliberationSpearheaded by the Deliberative Democracy Consortium in collaboration with the International Association of Public Participation, the principal objective of Journal of Public Deliberation (JPD) is to synthesize the research, opinion, projects, experiments and experiences of academics and practitioners in the emerging multi-disciplinary field and political movement called by some “deliberative democracy.” By doing this, we hope to help improve future research endeavors in this field and aid in the transformation of modern representative democracy into a more citizen friendly form.

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Follow the International Association of Public Participation [US] on Twitter: @IAP2USA

Resource Link: www.publicdeliberation.net/jpd/vol11/iss1/art8/

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