Participatory Democracy in Southern Europe: Causes, by Joan Font, Donatella della Porta, Yves Sintomer

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By Joan Font, Donatella della Porta, Yves Sintomer

Citizen participation is a important component to democratic governance. As participatory schemes have grown in quantity and received in social legitimacy over contemporary years, the learn group has analyzed the virtues of participatory rules from a number of issues of view, yet frequently giving concentration to the main winning and recognized grass-roots situations. This booklet examines a much broader diversity of participatory interventions which were created or legitimized through critical governments, supplying unique exploration of institutional democratic participatory mechanisms.

Looking at a major number of subnational examples throughout Italy, Spain and France, the publication interrogates the wealthy findings of a considerable examine venture. The authors use quantitative and qualitative tips on how to examine why those instances of participatory mechanisms have emerged, how they functionality, and what cultural influence they’ve completed. this enables hugely unique insights into why participatory mechanisms paintings in a few locations, yet no longer others, and the kinds of selections that organizers of participatory procedures need to ponder whilst developing such rules.

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This involves reducing hierarchical strata, changing accounting systems and emphasising analytical accounting and budgeting by product or by objectives, “joined-up thinking” and new methods of personnel management with increased personalisation of careers. This dimension has been explicit in Southern European countries but probably less developed than in Northern Europe. More recently, at an international level, in addition to the introduction of market criteria and internal transformation of administration, a third kind of modernisation has introduced closer contact with citizens as an essential part of public action, whereby the participation of citizen-users is called upon to contribute to improving the efficiency of management (Warin 1997; Papadopoulos and Warin 2007).

The main difference is the nationalist/autonomist cleavage, which constitutes a crucial factor in Spain, especially in specific regions, and also plays a role in Italy, while it is much less significant in France. The Catholic/secular cleavage has some importance, especially in Italy. In all three, the left-right cleavage is central; at both national and subnational levels, political majorities alternate between these two poles—a sharp contrast with other European countries where transversal coalitions are frequent.

Italy has experienced a certain restriction of the legal power of its municipal governments in the last decade: the country in which the communal experience most flourished in the Middle Ages and where the ideological tradition of municipal liberty is very strong is one of the few places in Europe (along with England and, more recently, Spain under the Spanish conservative government elected in 2011) where there has been a tendency towards recentralisation in the last two decades (Denters and Rose 2005).

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