From consociationalism to interculturalism
This chapter contends that it is time to break with the consociational paradigm. I argue that consociationalism has serious normative drawbacks, that its philosophical foundations have been severely undermined, and that its theoretical coherence and concrete instantiation have become weak. Moreover, despite its modiﬁcations by John McGarry and Brendan O’Leary, the model cannot be redeemed; and the Northern Ireland case cannot be presented as to provide a justiﬁcation of its own. By contrast I sketch out an emergent “intercultural” alternative to consocationalism – an alternative that is epistemologically less vulnerable, more consonant with democratic norms, and with wider “real world” traction to tackle Northern Ireland’s deep-seated divisions. This intercultural paradigm has at its heart the idea that one develops one’s own complex identity through deliberation with others.