Charlotte Löb, Hartmut Wessler
Mediated Deliberation in Deep Conflicts: How Might Deliberative Media Content Contribute to Social Integration Across Deep Divides?

Journal of Deliberative Democracy, 2021: 17, issue 2, pp. 69-80
ISSN: 2634-0488

Conflicts perceived by the media, either within or across national borders, are a staple of modern societies. These conflicts become especially challenging for societies that are divided along religious, ethnic, cultural or political lines. In the light of such deep conflicts, the contribution of mediated deliberation to social integration moves center stage. In this paper we discuss normative standards for mediated public communication deemed conducive to social integration in divided societies by deliberative theorists. We identify inclusiveness, responsiveness, mutual respect, and the display of group-bridging identities as the essential criteria. These criteria can be applied as yardsticks to assess the production, the content as well as the reception of media material in both mass media and social media. They therefore serve as an ideal point of departure for empirical work on the media’s role in social integration.