Moderating polarised positions on questions of national identity and sovereignty: Deliberative surveys on federalism in Myanmar

Published on 2019-09-05T12:06:31Z (GMT) by
<div><p>Myanmar is in an important phase of its political transition. The opportunity for substantive federal reform, which is central to peacebuilding and democratisation, is present and being progressed through parallel elite level forums. However, these elite negotiations have serious limitations, as they fail to reach out to citizens, and contribute to polarisation and the perpetuation of extreme views regarding federalism. To address the absence of public deliberation on federalism in Myanmar, we organised five deliberative events based on the Deliberative Polling® methodology. This paper discusses some of the key findings and demonstrates how they can contribute to federal constitutional reform in Myanmar. It shows that when debating fundamental issues relating to identity and national sovereignty, public deliberation has moderation effects even in conflict-ridden deeply divided societies. Indeed, questions that related to the institutions associated with identity and religion had the highest quality of deliberation, opinion change and moderation. These more moderate and considered deliberated perspectives are of great value for dealing with the polarisation issue that Myanmar faces and demonstrate the potential of deliberative democracy tools to supplement and moderate electoral democracy and elite-driven constitutional change processes.</p></div>

Cite this collection

Breen, Michael G; He, Baogang (2019): Moderating polarised positions on questions of national identity and sovereignty: Deliberative surveys on federalism in Myanmar. SAGE Journals. Collection. https://doi.org/10.25384/SAGE.c.4654832.v1