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Taylor & Francis


Although deliberative democratic theory values the principle of publicity, few empirical studies systematically assess the public communication of civic groups that deliberate over policy. The proliferation of such groups in contemporary politics, and of uncertainty about their legitimacy, suggests the need for such study. Drawing on contemporary deliberative theory, we derive a set of legitimate publicity indicators for assessing how well groups report their deliberative processes and policy conclusions. We demonstrate the reliability and utility of these measures in a comparative content analysis of the final reports of three common kinds of deliberative bodies: a governmentstakeholder task force, an activist strategy group, and a citizen consensus conference. We conclude by suggesting an agenda for further research on the perceived legitimacy of publicity about deliberative processes, outcomes, and impacts on the policy process.


This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Political Communication in January 2013, available online:



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