• deliberative democracy;
  • network analysis;
  • political integration;
  • British Muslims

Research Highlights and Abstract

This article

  • One of the first papers to bring deliberative theory and network theory together.
  • Maps ‘who is talking to whom’ in the field of ethnic relations in Britain.
  • Argues that, while Muslim actors do not necessarily couch their claims in general terms, they are well integrated nevertheless.

In this article, we examine the assumption that, insofar as actors deliberate well, political integration will follow. We do so specifically with respect to the political integration of Muslims in the field of ethnic relations in Britain, using data retrieved from two quality British broadsheets. Our approach has two components. First, we consider the quality of the deliberative interventions actors make, comparing Muslim actors with other actors. Second, we use measures drawn from network analysis to assess the level of political integration as indicated by the ties that those deliberative interventions forge. Our findings show that the link between how Muslim actors deliberate and their political integration in the field is more complex that one might assume. Although Muslims do not deliberate as well as normative deliberative theory says they should, empirically they are politically integrated, having forged diverse relationships that avoid the danger of polarisation.