At the same time as democracy has 'triumphed' in most of the world, it leaves many unsatisfied at the disjuncture between the democratic ideal and its practical expression. Participatory practices and institutions, as exemplified in the participatory budgeting process of the local government of Porto Alegre in Brazil, claim to embody a more substantive version of democracy that can settle this deficit. This article interrogates this promise through examining closely the case of Porto Alegre. In addition to demonstrating clear democratic outcomes, this examination also reveals that the meaning of democratic deepening is not cashed out exclusively in terms of participation but in terms of representation too. More specifically, participatory budgeting serves to broaden representation in the budgeting process as a whole, by better including and amplifying the voice of marginalised groups in aspects of the budgeting process, albeit through participatory practices and events. On reflection this should not be surprising as participatory budgeting introduces new decision-making procedures that supplement rather than replace existing representative institutions, and reform rather than transform expenditure patterns. Thus although termed participatory, at the level of the municipal system as a whole, participatory institutions assist in better representing the interests of marginalised groups in decision-making through participatory means. Deepening democracy, therefore, at least as far as new participatory institutions are concerned, is about new forms of representation and participation, rather than replacing representation with participation.
The Case of Participatory Budgeting in Porto Alegre, Brazil
Containing Conflict in Southeast Asia
Matthew David Ordoñez
Garry Rodan, Participation Without Democracy: Containing Conflict in Southeast Asia (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 2018), 281pp., ISBN: 9781501720109.
This article uncovers the distinction between calls of the far right to address what they consider to be an imbalance in political representation in Britain and local frustrations in Higher Blackley, North Manchester, England about feeling ignored by local and national government. Exploring how voting for the far right is used strategically in an attempt to communicate political disenchantment with the Labour Party, the article explains the shift in voting patterns as a protest against Labour rather than as a statement of affiliation with the core values of the British National Party. The extent of residents' anger is revealed as they explain the “unfairness“ of politicians' general neglect of the kind of people who live in Higher Blackley. This is compounded by perceptions of the preferential and “unfair“ treatment given to people from ethnic minorities. The article explains how the labeling of residents of Higher Blackley as white working class is rejected as also being “unfair“ because it ascribes negative attributes, wholesale, to the very people who were once respected for their participation in a Labour movement of their own making. The ethnographic idea of “fairness“ is revealed in the article as the opposite of labeling/fixing and as the acknowledgement of contingency, chance, and choice.
Political Representation beyond Representative Democracy
representation that might serve to inspire political projects for reinvigorating democratic participation today. The examples examined here, however, are limited by time and space. They are used to flesh out an alternative logic of political representation that
of what the term student engagement means. Despite that, what emerges is a fairly coherent assemblage of ideals that includes social and academic participation, collegiality and a sense of belonging. The panel members all studied against a backdrop of
Allan C. Hutchinson and Joel Colón-Ríos
The relationship between democracy and constitutions is a long and fractious one. Those who lean towards the constitutionalist side have tended to perceive democracy as a threat to political order and the preservation of important values, whereas those who take a more democratist stance tend to treat constitutions as elite hindrances to popular rule as much as anything else. In this paper, we will give the constitutionalist thesis a broader theoretical and political scrutiny. By way of explanation, we will address and recommend the possibilities and problems for putting into practical operation such an anti-constitutionalist stance; the recent experience of the U.S. State of California offers itself as a good forcing-ground for these ideas. In short, from a democratic standpoint, the challenge for the citizenry is not so much about defining the values of constitutions, but constitutions whose change is outside the scope of popular decision making, supposed to exclusively take place through judicial interpretation or through an amendment formula designed precisely to make change difficult and unlikely. Too often, constitutions place checks and limits on democratic participation in the name of some other set of vaunted truths or elite-favouring values. For the strong democrat, it is formal constitutions and their institutional paraphernalia that do more to inhibit and dull democracy's emancipatory potential than to nurture and fulfil it.
le cas du réaménagement du Quartier des Halles à Paris
Pierre Diméglio and Jodelle Zetlaoui-Léger
While Mayor Bertrand Delanoë had omitted the renovation of Les Halles in hisplans for the city in his 2001 inaugural address, in 2002, at the urging of theRATP and Espace Expansion, he decided to create a working group to undertakethis project during his tenure. Having made citizen participation a newgoal for local government, he also announced that the project would beundertaken with Parisians, especially local associations. The first part of thisarticle emphasizes the different postures that elected politicians, engineers,and experts have adopted over the course of forty years vis-à-vis the questionof citizen participation in urban planning. The second part explores the decision-making process for the Les Halles renovation over the last four years; itconsiders the issues and difficulties linked to the implementation of participatoryplans incorporating residents--whether they are members of localgroups or not--in complex urban planning projects.
An Exploration of Participation and Consensus
This article reports on an investigation into the extent to which individual involvement in community participatory research activities on HIV/AIDS created agreement or consensus among participants from four Malawian communities about the causes, risks, and behaviours associated with AIDS transmission in their communities. In this research, cultural consensus analysis was used in an exploratory manner to measure the level of agreement among participants prior to and immediately following participation in community participatory workshops. The results demonstrate variability by community and gender in the levels of consensus, or agreement, achieved through the workshops. These findings suggest that consensus is not an automatic outcome of participation in small group interventions and in some cases can result in less agreement on community issues around HIV. Moreover, we lack a clear understanding of how consensus contributes to desired or positive change. Also discussed is the potential utility of cultural consensus analysis as a tool in evaluating the effectiveness of community participatory interventions.
Examples from Vienna
In the last decade or so, several projects to exhibit 'migration' were staged in Austria's capital, Vienna. They were undertaken in various contexts: in museums, as part of art shows and in art festivals. These efforts are taken under scrutiny by the author, regarding their production, their way of enabling participation and articulation, and the new perspectives they opened. It is argued that through efforts of formerly excluded groups a change came about in how the figure of the 'migrant', and the various processes of migration, are perceived.
This article focuses on four areas in which there have been putative changes in democratic practices and processes over the last two decades: decline in, or changing forms of, political participation; the growing power of the corporate sector; the decline in state capacity and, relatedly, the problems of producing what is considered by some to be successful policy; and the growth of depoliticization and anti-politics. The article argues that while not all has changed, these are important, and worrying, developments. Subsequently, the article briefly examines possible ways in which we might re-engage citizens and recouple the government and citizens. Given space-limitations, this piece is best viewed as an informed argument.