ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

Back to Paper Details

Systemic and Contextual Constraints to Self-Government in Participatory Procedures

Citizenship
Democracy
Local Government
Political Participation
Paulo Resende
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Paulo Resende
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Abstract

Based on the assumption that democracy and liberalism are etymologically and philosophically radically different categories, we analyze the consequences when both meet each other in cases where efforts to amplify democratic spectrum can be identified. Institutional arrangements of direct citizen participation in local governments’ decision making process are examined with the optic of the relation between liberalism and democracy, representation and participation. The cases studied are the Participatory Budget run by São Paulo City Council and the Local Council of Social Welfare run by Barcelona City Council. The limits current institutions and political leaders render in the results and potentials of participation in changing traditional routines of public decision making process and the distribution of power in society is the core of the analysis. It is examined, therefore, the extension in which participation and representation may coexist and the obstacles current political system impose to the democratic ideal, understood here as self-government. Heuristic tools extracted from the philosophical work of Deleuze and Guattari are employed to ‘cartograph’ the extent of conflicts between the two different institutional rationales. With the cases studied side by side, our conclusions indicate the combination of systemic constraints, that are general and will always restrain participation, and contextual constraints, that will produce local variations in the way and extension in which participation is restrained.