This chapter explores the implications of consociationalism for government communication in Northern Ireland. Our study used qualitative data, from 33 semi-structured interviews with key actors in the government communication process: Government Information Officers (GIOs), Ministerial Special Advisers (SpAds) and political journalists. We use contemporary Northern Ireland as a strategic case study to investigate how these unelected elite actors experience the consociational system in their professional roles and relationships, and to ascertain what impacts they perceive it to have on the government communication sphere. While the strengths and benefits of consociationalism as a form of political accommodation have been assessed through the lens of various disciplines, namely political science, we propose that a communication focus has much to offer the debate. We demonstrate that major limitations of the consociational model are evident if we focus on the communication sphere in the stable post-conflict phase.
|Title of host publication||Consociationalism and Power-Sharing in Europe|
|Subtitle of host publication||Arend Lijphart’s Theory of Political Accommodation|
|Editors||Michaelina Jakala, Durukhan Kuzu, Matt Qvortrup|
|Number of pages||25|
|Publication status||Published - 2018|
Rice, C., & Somerville, I. (2018). Dialogue, Democracy and Government Communication: Consociationalism in Northern Ireland. In M. Jakala, D. Kuzu, & M. Qvortrup (Eds.), Consociationalism and Power-Sharing in Europe: Arend Lijphart’s Theory of Political Accommodation (pp. 103-127). Palgrave Macmillan. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-67098-0_6