Research

In my doctoral (UBC) and post-doctoral (STANCE, Lund) work, I have studied the evolution of deliberative systems from a historical perspective. In particular, I focused on the ways in which the diffusion and institutionalization of communicative practices among the popular classes as a way to coordinate collective action affected the development of the modern state during the 19th and 20th centuries. My book manuscript, Communication and Political Development: The Social Origins of State Autonomy and Capacity, examines the impact of “communicative organizations”—i.e., mass parties, unions and associations that mobilize supporters through communication rather than selective incentives—on the ability of states to provide complex public goods such as economic transformation.

As a research fellow of the Royal Academy of Letters based at Lund University, I am launching a new multi-year project entitled “Deliberative Capacity of Democratic Systems”, which will propose a new measurement strategy to asses the quality of deliberation at the polity level. The goal is to then use this data to examine how changes in the institutions responsible for collective preference formation have affected satisfaction with and support for democracy in a sample of European and Latin American countries.

I also have published a couple of articles on popular sovereignty, citizenship and the rights of foreigners. The first of these articles, with Antje Ellermann (UBC), discusses the ethics of policies of immigrant selection in liberal democracies. The second one draws on the literature on “discursive opportunity structures” to explain why the enfranchisement of non-citizens has been a highly contested issue in places like France, the US or Germany, but not in countries like Sweden, Denmark or the Netherlands.