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Greater or Lesser Institutionalisation? French Local Participatory Policies Between Unfinished Institutionalisation and Continuous Experimental Attempt

Europe (Central and Eastern)
Comparative Politics
Democracy
Institutions
Local Government
Political Participation
Mixed Methods
Policy Change
Guillaume Petit
Université de Paris I – Panthéon-Sorbonne
Guillaume Petit
Université de Paris I – Panthéon-Sorbonne
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Abstract

Long-term implementation of participatory devices is one of the major challenge encountered by theirs promoters. For public participation opportunities offered by local authorities it paradoxically seems that their permanent change is the condition of their durability. We interrogate 3 cases of local participation in French small towns though the issue of the institutionalization of participatory devices. Such issue is in tension with an experimental register, seen as a way of permanent enhancement of participation. Those two dynamics (institutionalization versus experimentation) give different perspectives for public participation: permanent adaptation, routinisation or legitimization. Why, when the “means” or the “intent” seem gathered, institutionalization has never been fully accomplished? How does public participation offer become a part of local policies and not only an electoral proposal or a campaign promise?