Author Biography

Markus Holdo works as a researcher at the Department of Government, Uppsala University. His research focuses on institutional reforms to facilitate citizen deliberation, such as participatory budgeting, and problems of inclusion in public deliberation more broadly.


Both advocates and critics of deliberative theory have regarded power relations as problems for public deliberation. Three aspects—interests, ideology and status differences—have been thought to distort deliberative processes. This article discusses a growing body of case studies that indicate that these “problems” may actually, under certain conditions, help facilitate inclusion and equality in deliberation. The crucial task is to specify the mechanisms that explain such unexpected outcomes and the conditions under which they may appear in other cases. This article specifies three such mechanisms that help explain positive outcomes in a number of case studies. The argument for focusing on mechanisms and conditions serves as a correction both to critics who find the theory of deliberation naïve and to advocates who have taken the critique against deliberative theory too lightly.