Rating the debates: The 2010 UK party leaders’ debates and political communication in the deliberative system

Davidson, Stewart, Elstub, Stephen, Johns, Robert and Stark, Alastair (2016) Rating the debates: The 2010 UK party leaders’ debates and political communication in the deliberative system. British Politics, 12 2: 183-208. doi:10.1057/s41293-016-0021-9

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Author Davidson, Stewart
Elstub, Stephen
Johns, Robert
Stark, Alastair
Title Rating the debates: The 2010 UK party leaders’ debates and political communication in the deliberative system
Journal name British Politics   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1746-918X
1746-9198
Publication date 2016-08-20
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1057/s41293-016-0021-9
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 12
Issue 2
Start page 183
End page 208
Total pages 26
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Language eng
Subject 1202 History
3312 Sociology and Political Science
3320 Political Science and International Relations
Abstract Leader debates have become a pre-eminent means of campaign communication in numerous countries and were introduced in the UK relatively recently. However, the quality of such communication is, to put it mildly, open to question. This article uses the discourse quality index (DQI) to assess the deliberative quality of the 2010 UK party leaders’ debates. When scrutinized in isolation, and viewed through the full prism of the DQI categories, the quality of discourse evidenced in the debates is a relatively poor reflection of mainstream idealizations of democratic deliberation. However, when the analysis is rehoused within the wider project of constructing a deliberative system in the UK, and is given a comparative institutional dimension, the epistemic value of the debates is revealed. The relatively high level of justification employed by the party leaders suggests that the debates are a valuable means for the mass communication of reasoned defenses of manifesto pledges to the public sphere, and that they are likely to have a significant educative effect. Moreover, we argue that sequencing such debates with representative deliberative fora will force elites to improve the deliberative quality of their communication and enhance the reflective capacity of the viewing public.
Keyword Deliberative democracy
Deliberation
Party leaders’ debates
Political communication
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: HERDC Pre-Audit
School of Political Science and International Studies Publications
 
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Created: Wed, 24 Aug 2016, 02:34:39 EST by Alastair Stark on behalf of School of Political Science & Internat'l Studies