Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance

Dr Nicole CuratoARC Discovery Early Career Research Fellow


Address: Building 23, Level B University of Canberra Phone: + 61 (0) 2 6201 5996


Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance


Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis at the University of Canberra

Research Interests

Deliberative democracy; contemporary social theory; fringe forms of political participation; qualitative methods

Connect with Nicole


Nicole Curato is a Discovery Early Career Research Award Fellow at the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance at the University of Canberra. She is currently working on a manuscript entitled ‘Democracy in the Age of Misery,’ which seeks to develop a defensible theory of democracy amidst widespread suffering.

She first joined the Centre as a post-doctoral research fellow at the Australian National University in 2011 where she worked on an ARC linkage project on the Australian Citizens' Parliament with John Dryzek and Simon Niemeyer.

Before moving to Australia, Nicole completed her BA, MA and PhD in Sociology at the University of the Philippines, University of Manchester, and University of Birmingham, respectively. She is a regular visiting scholar the Department of Government at Uppsala University.

Her work has been published in Policy Sciences, Current Sociology, European Political Science Review and Acta Politica, among others. She is the convener of the First and Second Deliberative Democracy Summer School.

She is a regular contributor of Rappler.com and CNN Philippines and has served as resource person for The New Yorker, The Australian, Vox, Wall Street Journal, ABC News, among others. 

Download her academic CV here. 

Download her public engagement CV here.

Research Grants

Who will bury the dead? Community responses in Duterte’s bloody war on drugs

Investigators: Nicole Curato, Jayeel Cornelio, Filomin Candaliza-Gutierrez

This project aims to conduct an exploratory study that examines community responses to Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody war on drugs. It is envisioned to be the first phase of a longer-term collaborative project which chronicles the social and political legacies of the drug war on the community level. While international media and human rights groups have called attention to the alarming body counts in the first six months of Duterte’s administration, it is equally important to take a systematic look at the communities that have directly borne the costs of war.
The team aims to conduct preliminary data gathering to map formal and informal networks that are created, disrupted or negotiated because of the war, as well as the possibilities and obstructions for grassroots participation to formulate inclusive and humane approaches in solving the problem of illegal drugs. The approach is ethnographic and action-oriented. A team of sociologists will closely observe two communities in Manila that have witnessed a spate of killings and identify spaces for reform.

Funder: Philippines Project - Department of Trade and Foreign Affairs 


Building Back Better: Participatory Governance in a Post-Haiyan World

Investigator: Nicole Curato

'Building back better' has become a global mantra for countries recovering from disasters. This project aims to examine how this principle can be extended from rebuilding disaster-resilient physical infrastructure to rehabilitating institutions of participatory governance to ensure the inclusive and empowering character of recovery efforts. Through a multi-sited ethnography in cities worst hit by the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, a theoretically-informed and empirically-grounded analytical toolkit that gauges the democratic quality of post-disaster reconstruction will be developed. The project aims to generate insights into the precise ways in which participatory governance can also be 'built better' in a post-Haiyan world.

Funding: Australian Research Council - Discovery Early Career Research Grant


Technologies of Humanitarianism: An Ethnographic Assessment of Communication Environments in Disaster Recovery and Humanitarian Intervention (2014-2015)

Investigators: Mirca Madianou, Nicole Curato, Jonathan Corpus Ong and Jayeel Cornelio

The proposed research aims to assess the uses and consequences of communication environments in the recovery and rehabilitation of populations affected by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, one of the strongest storms ever recorded in modern history. In particular, we investigate the uses of digital technologies and innovations such as mobile phones, SMS, crisis mapping and social media by directly affected populations and humanitarian organisations.

Funding: Economic and Social Research Council Urgency Grant.



  • Curato, N. (Forthcoming) Politics of Anxiety, Politics of Hope: Penal Populism and Duterte’s Rise to Power. Journal of Contemporary Southeast Asia. [Read Here]
  • Curato, N. (2017) Flirting with Authoritarian Fantasies? Rodrigo Duterte and the New Terms of Philippine Populism. Journal of Contemporary Asia, 47, 1, pp. 142-153 [Read here]
  • Curato, N. (2017) We haven’t even buried the dead yet: The ethics of discursive contestation in a crisis situation. Current Sociology, 65, 7, pp. 1010-1030 [Read here]
  • Curato, N., Dryzek, J. S., Ercan, S. A., Hendriks, C. M., & Niemeyer, S. (2017). Twelve Key Findings in Deliberative Democracy Research, Daedalus, 146, 3, pp. 28-38 [Read here]

  • Curato, N. and Böker, M. (2016) Linking mini-publics to the deliberative system: A research agenda. Policy Sciences 49(2): 173-190 [Read here]
  • O’Flynn, I. and Curato, N. (2015) Deliberative Democratization: A Framework for Systemic Analysis. Policy Studies 36(3):36:3, 298-313 [Read here]
  • Felicetti, A., Niemeyer, S. and Curato, N. (2015) Improving Deliberative Participation: Connecting Mini-Publics to Deliberative Systems. European Political Science Review [Read here]
  • Curato, N. (2015) Deliberative capacity as indicator of democratic quality: The case of the Philippines. International Political Science Review, 36(1): 99-116. [Read here]
  • Curato, N. and Ong, J.C. (2015) Inclusion as Deliberative Agency: The Selective Representation of Poor Women in Debates and Documentaries about Reproductive Health. Television and New Media, 16(6):576-594. [Read here]
  • Curato, N. and Niemeyer, S. (2013) Reaching out to overcome political apathy: Building participatory capacity through deliberative engagement. Politics and Policy, 41(3): 355-383 (with Simon Niemeyer). [Read here]
  • Curato, N., Niemeyer, S. and Dryzek, J. (2013) Appreciative and contestatory inquiry in deliberative forums: Can group hugs be dangerous? Critical Policy Studies, 7(1): 1-17 [Read here]
  • Curato, N. (2012) A Sequential Analysis of Democratic Deliberation. Acta Politica, 47(4): 423-442. [Read here]
  • Curato, N. (2012) Respondents as Interlocutors: Translating Deliberative Democratic Principles to Qualitative Interviewing Ethics. Qualitative Inquiry, 18(7): 7 571-582. [Read here]


  • Curato, N. and Ong, J.C. (2015) Disasters can lift veils: Five Issues for Sociological Disaster Studies. Philippine Sociological Review 63(S1):1-26. [Read here]
  • Curato, N. (2014) Participation without deliberation: The crisis of Venezuelan democracy. Journal of Democratic Theory, 1(2): 113-121 [Read here]
  • Curato, N. (2013) Classical Reading of Classical Sociological Theory. Philippine Sociological Review 61(S1): 265-288. [Read here]


  • Curato, N. and Steiner, J. (forthcoming) “Deliberative Democracy and Comparative Democratisation Studies,” in Oxford Handbook of Deliberative Democracy, John Dryzek, Jane Mansbridge, Andre Bachtiger and Mark Warren (eds.) Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Curato, N., Ong, J.C. and Longboan, L. (2016) “Protest as Interruption of the Disaster Imaginary: Overcoming Voice-Denying Rationalities in Post-Haiyan Philippines,” in Taking the Square: Mediated Dissent and Occupations of Public Space, Maria Rovisco and Jonathan Corpus Ong (eds.) London: Rowman and Littlefield.
  • Curato, N. (2010) “Democratic Possibilities: The Venezuelan Experience” in Participation, State and the People, Brendan Howe, Vesselin Popovski and Mark Notaras (eds.), Tokyo: United Nations University Press.


  • Curato, N. (2016) Book Review: Deliberative Mini-Publics: Innovating Citizens in the Democratic Process. Edited by by Kimmo Grönlund, André Bächtiger and Maija Setälä (Colchester: ECPR Press) in Perspectives on Politics. [Read here]
  • Curato, N. (2013) Review Article: Political Spaces and Global War, Carlo Galli (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press) in Journal of Social Transformation 1(1): 139-141. [Read here]
PhD Supervision

Area of Supervision:

  • Deliberative democratic theory and practice 
  • Democratic Innovations
  • Politics in fragile political contexts

  • Fringe forms of political participation

Current PhD students

  • Emerson Sanchez, "Deliberating environmental knowledge in the politics of mining in the Philippines" (with John Dryzek and Lorrae van Kerkhoff)

  • Roger Davis, "How can deliberative democracy improve indigenous engagement in Australia?" (with Lain Dare and John Dryzek)

Completed PhD students

  • Pia Rowe, "New Forms of Political Participation: Women's Participation in a Feminist Social Movement" (with David Marsh)


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