Dialogue, Democracy and Government Communication: Consociationalism in Northern Ireland

Charis Rice, Ian Somerville

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    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.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationConsociationalism and Power-Sharing in Europe
    Subtitle of host publicationArend Lijphart’s Theory of Political Accommodation
    EditorsMichaelina Jakala, Durukhan Kuzu, Matt Qvortrup
    PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
    Number of pages25
    ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-67098-0
    ISBN (Print)978-3-319-67097-3
    Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Institute themes

    • Governance, Leadership and Trust


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