Hearing the Other Side: Deliberative versus Participatory Democracy

Religion and politics, as the old saying goes, should never be discussed in mixed company. And yet fostering discussions that cross lines of political difference has long been a central concern of political theorists. More recently, it has also become a cause célèbre for pundits and civic-minded citizens wanting to improve the health of American democracy. But only recently have scholars begun empirical investigations of where and with what consequences people interact with those whose political views differ from their own. Hearing the Other Side examines this theme in the context of the contemporary United States. It is unique in its effort to link political theory with empirical research. Drawing on her empirical work, Mutz suggests that it is doubtful that an extremely activist political culture can also be a heavily deliberative one.

• Links political theory with empirical studies of American political behavior to address contemporary concerns about political polarization • Of interest to scholars of deliberative democracy, political participation, and tolerance, across several disciplines • Draws on real world examples to illustrate the tension between our desire for social harmony in everyday relationships, and the need for exposure to diverse people and ideas


1. Hearing the other side, in theory and in practice; 2. Encountering mixed political company: with whom and in what context?; 3. Benefits of hearing the other side; 4. The dark side of mixed political company; 5. The social citizen.

Prize Winner

Robert E. Lane - Political Psychology Section of the American Political Science Association - Winner

Goldsmith Book Award, Joan Shorenstein Centre on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, Harvard University