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Overdoing DemocracyWhy We Must Put Politics in its Place$
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Robert B. Talisse

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190924195

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190924195.001.0001

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The Problem of Polarization

The Problem of Polarization

(p.95) 4 The Problem of Polarization
Overdoing Democracy

Robert B. Talisse

Oxford University Press

This chapter completes the diagnostic argument by showing how the political saturation of social space contributes to our vulnerability to belief polarization. Belief polarization is the phenomenon by which like-minded individuals transform into more extreme versions of themselves in the wake of group interactions. It is argued that as the belief polarization effect can be prompted by mere corroboration of one’s views (rather than by face-to-face group discussion), politically saturated social environments can generate within us extremity shifts simply in the course of everyday activities. The belief polarization phenomenon initiates a broader polarization dynamic that dissolves citizens’ democratic capacities.

Keywords:   democracy, belief polarization, extremism, politics, citizen

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