© 2019

Power in Deliberative Democracy

Norms, Forums, Systems


Part of the Political Philosophy and Public Purpose book series (POPHPUPU)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvii
  2. Nicole Curato, Marit Hammond, John B. Min
    Pages 1-24
  3. Nicole Curato, Marit Hammond, John B. Min
    Pages 25-59
  4. Nicole Curato, Marit Hammond, John B. Min
    Pages 61-93
  5. Nicole Curato, Marit Hammond, John B. Min
    Pages 95-136
  6. Nicole Curato, Marit Hammond, John B. Min
    Pages 137-172
  7. Nicole Curato, Marit Hammond, John B. Min
    Pages 173-183
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 185-190

About this book


Deliberative democracy is an embattled political project. It is accused of political naiveté for it only talks about power without taking power. Others, meanwhile, take issue with deliberative democracy’s dominance in the field of democratic theory and practice. An industry of consultants, facilitators, and experts of deliberative forums has grown over the past decades, suggesting that the field has benefited from a broken political system.

This book is inspired by these accusations. It argues that deliberative democracy’s tense relationship with power is not a pathology but constitutive of deliberative practice. Deliberative democracy gains relevance when it navigates complex relations of power in modern societies, learns from its mistakes, remains epistemically humble but not politically meek.  These arguments are situated in three facets of deliberative democracy—norms, forums, and systems—and concludes by applying these ideas to three of the most pressing issues in contemporary times—post-truth politics, populism, and illiberalism.


Democratic Theory Political power Citizen engagement deliberative democracy Deliberation democratic innovations Jane Mansbridge deliberative systems deliberative practice classical deliberative theory coercive power ambivalence argument

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global GovernanceUniversity of CanberraCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.School of Politics, Philosophy, International Relations and EnvironmentKeele UniversityKeeleUK
  3. 3.Department of Social Sciences – Philosophy ProgramCollege of Southern NevadaNorth Las Vegas, NVUSA

About the authors

Nicole Curato is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance at the University of Canberra, AU.

Marit Hammond is Lecturer in Politics at Keele University, UK.

John B. Min is Philosophy Instructor (equivalent to Assistant Professor of Philosophy) in the Department of Social Sciences at the College of Southern Nevada, USA.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Power in Deliberative Democracy
  • Book Subtitle Norms, Forums, Systems
  • Authors Nicole Curato
    Marit Hammond
    John B. Min
  • Series Title Political Philosophy and Public Purpose
  • Series Abbreviated Title Political Philosophy and Public Purpose
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2019
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Political Science and International Studies Political Science and International Studies (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-319-95533-9
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-030-07053-3
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-319-95534-6
  • Series ISSN 2524-714X
  • Series E-ISSN 2524-7158
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XVII, 190
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Political Theory
    Political Philosophy
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


“This book confronts the realist challenge head-on and makes a thorough and compelling case for the relevance and importance of deliberative democracy in a world full of power, coercion, and strategy. Equal parts comprehensive introduction and sophisticated defense, the authors present deliberative democracy in a new and powerful light. The book is sure to be a must-read in the growing field of deliberative democracy studies.” (Simone Chambers, Professor, Political Science, University of California Irvine, USA)

“In their admirably clear and nuanced book, Curato, Hammond and Min place the concept of deliberative democracy where it belongs: at the centre of the complex realities of political and social power. This opens up new normative as well as empirical perspectives in critical democratic theory, much needed in a time of worries about the future of democracy.” (Rainer Forst, Professor, Political Theory and Philosophy, Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany)

“For anyone keen to understand where and how power fits into deliberative democracy, this book is a must-read. The authors offer a clear-eyed assessment of how coercive and productive forms of power feature in the norms, forums and systems of public deliberation. More broadly the book makes a timely and important contribution to debates on the relevance of deliberative democracy for modern societies beset with complex power relationships.” (Carolyn M. Hendriks, Associate Professor, Public Policy and Governance, Australian National University, Australia)

“This book is a must-read for people interested in democratic theory. Its most important contribution is to address the problem of power in deliberative democracy, often regarded as the weakest point of previous literature. This book also offers a robust and refined picture of deliberative democracy.” (Tetsuki Tamura, Professor, Political Science, Nagoya University, Japan)