Dialogue, Democracy and Government Communication: Consociationalism in Northern Ireland

Charis Rice, Ian Somerville

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

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
Pages103-127
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-67098-0
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-67097-3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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    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