The Requirement of Publicity

Ian O'flynn

in Deliberative Democracy and Divided Societies

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print June 2006 | ISBN: 9780748621446
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748672004 | DOI:
The Requirement of Publicity

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This chapter explores how publicity might be thought to contribute towards the creation a stronger sense of common national identity among members of a divided society. It approaches this basic issue by means of two subsidiary questions: How might the requirement of publicity be justified? And to what extent, or under what conditions, should publicity be guaranteed? To these ends, the chapter proceeds as follows. After defining the requirement of publicity and indicating its importance to democratic politics in divided societies, the chapter considers a number of alternative philosophical justifications for that requirement. It then considers whether publicity might help equalise the patterns of asymmetry that characterise, and often undermine, negotiation processes in divided societies. Against this background, the chapter mounts a case in support of the requirement of publicity that stresses its transformative potential. Despite this potential, however, the fact remains that secrecy, too, may be important to negotiation processes. The chapter concludes by arguing that although secrecy can indeed have an important place, the balance between publicity and secrecy must itself be publicly justified.

Keywords: publicity; national identity; divided societies; negotiation; secrecy

Chapter.  10072 words. 

Subjects: Politics

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