Talking with like-minded people: Equality and efficacy in enclave deliberation

A1 Journal article (refereed)

Internal Authors/Editors

Publication Details

List of Authors: Staffan Himmelroos, Lauri Rapeli, Kimmo Grönlund
Publication year: 2017
Journal: Social Science Journal
Journal acronym: SSJ
Volume number: 54
Issue number: 2
Start page: 148
End page: 158


Enclaves of like-minded people are often seen as problematic from a democratic point of view, as they have been found to lead to both group polarization and an amplification of cognitive errors. Nevertheless, enclaves can also act as protected spaces have the opportunity to discuss politics with their peers. As a result, people who are less well-endowed to face political disagreement can find it easier to engage in politics. In order to study the ‘empowering’ potential of enclave deliberation, we use data from a population-based experiment (n = 207). The participants were randomly allocated to two treatments. Some participants deliberated in groups consisting of people with similar baseline views on immigration (like-minded treatment), whereas others deliberated in groups where both restrictive and permissive participants were present (mixed treatment). We hypothesize that (1) discussion in like-minded groups is more equal than in mixed opinion groups and that (2) participants with lower resources feel politically more efficacious after deliberation in like-minded than in mixed groups. Our results suggest that people with higher resources tend to be more active regardless of treatment. Nevertheless, we also find that among those with lower resources deliberation in like-minded groups generates a higher sense of equality than discussion in mixed opinion groups.

Last updated on 2020-04-08 at 04:58