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Individual Paper: Participatory governance in Barcelona

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This Master thesis examines the participatory governance model of Barcelona en Comú, a citizens platform that since 2015 aims to radically transform and democratize political, economic and social institutions by incorporating citizens, community organizations and advocacy groups into decision-making. It examines the political and cultural conditions that led to the emerge of a participatory model of ‘global municipalism’ and seeks to better understand how these affected the design of the established structures of participation. Drawing on theorizations of radical democracy and emancipatory participatory governance as well as on concepts of strategic selectivity and multi-level governance, it will be investigated in what form the design of new spaces for political intervention changes the democratic opportunities for citizens and other actors. *It is assumed that the increase in participatory forms of governance as well as their concrete design favors social actors that are already politically organized and mobilized and in general support of the socio-ecological policy agenda while the effect on the overall level of political participation, especially of marginalized or depoliticized citizens, remains minimal. Like other participatory governance models, the Barcelona case underlines tensions between the post-democratic tendencies of multi-level governance structures and increasing decentralization processes that implement participatory elements on the local level. It however highlights the importance of historically emerged forms of social mobilization and organization and the decisive character of networks between government actors and civil organizations in influencing the scope and dynamics of participatory processes, which ultimately brings up the political nature of institutional design. In the context of degrowth this seems in so far relevant as it highlights the potential of social actors in changing political processes and institutional structures from the bottom-up and in setting up new forms of democratic learning, collaboration and social organization.

* this are my current claims / hypotheses as I am still conducting the research


Day: 2018-08-24
Start time: 11:30
Duration: 00:15
Room: Moriskan (Stora Salongen)
Track: Organisational and Organising Practices



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