British Journal of Political Science

It's Good To Talk: Talk, Disagreement and Tolerance

C. J.  PATTIE a1 a and R. J.  JOHNSTON a2 a
a1 Department of Geography, University of Sheffield
a2 School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol

Article author query
pattie cj   [Google Scholar] 
johnston rj   [Google Scholar] 


Open political discussion between citizens is a cornerstone of democratic theory and contextual accounts of political behaviour. It provides both a means through which individuals can discover what their peers think and a forum within which they can rationalize, explain and perhaps modify their own opinions. Much previous research has focused on the potential of political conversation as a means of influencing others and of converting holders of minority views to the opinions of the majority. However, theoretical accounts of political conversation also stress its potential impact on more systemic attitudes towards democracy, including the development of tolerance for divergent views and lifestyles. The article provides an evaluation of these potential effects in the context of recent British politics.


a The authors gratefully acknowledge the comments and advice of Albert Weale and of four anonymous referees on an earlier draft of this article.