The Accidental Theorist: Diana Mutz's Normative And Empirical Insights

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Critical Review


On the surface, Diana Mutz's Hearing the Other Side is a work about empirical realities. But it is also an exercise in normative theory. Mutz's chief empirical findings are that people who are exposed to political disagreement tend to become less politically active and that, conversely, political activists tend not to hear views that challenge their own. These findings raise the question of whether participatory and deliberative ideals are compatible with each other, and, in addition, whether they are either realistic or desirable.

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