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Abstract

Some measure of equality is necessary for deliberative democracy to work well, yet empirical scholarship consistently points to the deleterious effect that hierarchy and inequalities of epistemological authority have on deliberation. This article tests whether real-world deliberative forums can overcome these challenges. Contrary to skeptics, it concludes that the act of deliberation itself and the presence of trained moderators ameliorate inequalities of epistemological authority, thus rendering deliberative democracy possible, even within hierarchical organizations.

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