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Author Biography

Staffan Himmelroos is a postdoctoral researcher at the Social Science Research Institute at Åbo Akademi University. His research is focused on democratic innovations and political behavior. He has published on these topics in Political Studies, International Political Science Review, Scandinavian Political Studies and Information Polity among others.

Abstract

In recent years, there has been a rapid growth in studies reporting findings from a variety of deliberative citizen forums. Such studies help to develop our understanding of deliberative democracy by exploring changes in opinion and knowledge as well as - more recently - the quality of the deliberative process itself. However, most deliberative forums are organized on an ad hoc basis, making it hard to judge how generalizable the findings from such forums actually are. This article attempts to address this problem by comparing the findings on the quality of deliberation from four different citizen forums. Based on the findings citizen deliberation is generally very respectful, while argumentation is less refined than among elected representatives. The cases included in this study also suggest that women and those with lower education have less influence in the deliberative process.

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