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Fierce Entanglements

Communication and Ethnopolitical Conflict


Donald G. Ellis

The third in a trilogy on communication and ethnopolitical conflict, this book focuses on multicultural groups significantly divided by politics and religion. These groups have become «fiercely entangled»; that is, they are inescapably politically, socially, and culturally interdependent. Using the Israeli Palestinian conflict as the primary example, Ellis offers a timely analysis of how communication can begin to untangle these groups. Group differences lead to cultural differences – some of the most difficult aspects of a conflict. This book examines the nature of group differences as well as solutions-based conflict resolution that is embedded in theories of communication and democracy.
Ellis argues that resources are unequally distributed and differences are the norm. Politics is used to manage these differences and although communication is the fundamental tool of conflict management, there are other components in resolving conflicts that complement communication approaches. Dialogue and deliberation are posed as workable responses to untangling these differences and managing intractability.
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6. Deliberation


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In this chapter we take up the subject of deliberation with two thoughts in mind. The first is an effort to bridge the gap between deliberative theory and practice, something I began in an earlier book (Ellis, 2012) that sought to focus on communication and deliberation. The second is to bring dialogue and deliberation closer together, that is, to meld more the two such that the idea of deliberation is expanded as well as dialogue. In the minds of many, dialogue and deliberation are pretty distinct with dialogue being more concerned with interpersonal relations and deep inquiry into the feelings and narratives of the other in an effort to achieve deeper understanding. I discussed, for example, in the previous chapter how the idea of debate was quite inconsistent with dialogue and something to be avoided in true dialogic processes. But deliberation, in contrast, is an effort to achieve the highest form of debate and argument. Deliberative debate is the sine qua non of democratic processes and crucial for problem solving. Oliver Escobar (2009) has been influential in working towards an integrated model of dialogue and deliberation. What Escobar calls D+D for collaborative decision making and applied especially to political problems between groups, even ethnopolitical groups such as the Israelis and Palestinians.

One of the first and most important things to say about deliberation is that it is a communication process embedded in a network of relationships that is effective and related to preference formation...

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