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Deliberative inclusion of minorities: patterns of reciprocity among linguistic groups in Switzerland

  • Seraina Pedrini (a1) (a2), André Bächtiger (a3) and Marco R. Steenbergen (a4)

We present a model of deliberative inclusion, focusing on reciprocity in the interaction between structural minorities/disadvantaged groups and majorities/privileged groups. Our model, however, comes with a ‘friendly amendment’: we have put the ‘burden of reciprocity’ mainly on majorities and privileged groups. It is mainly their obligation to seriously listen and respond to the demands and arguments of minorities and disadvantaged groups and show a willingness to respect and accommodate these interests. Empirically, we apply our model to the interaction of linguistic groups in the Swiss parliament. We find a highly egalitarian, sometimes even minority-favoring mode of interaction between the German-speaking majority and linguistic minorities. The German-speaking majority seems to be willing to take the ‘burden of reciprocity’ when linguistic minorities’ vital interests are concerned. Conversely, linguistic minorities are slightly more self-referential and adversarial under such conditions.

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European Political Science Review
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