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Field Notes on Deliberative Democracy: Power and Recognition in Participatory Budgeting
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Government.
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The theory of deliberative democracy suggests that public discourse should be guided by reasonable arguments. In real life, power relations not only obstruct free exchanges of reasons but also shape our understandings and expectations of what it means to provide reasons and to speak with authority. Struggles over power and recognition are necessary parts of deliberation. This thesis asks how groups that are marginalized in public discourse can act to demand recognition in public sphere deliberation.

The thesis draws on work by Pierre Bourdieu to make the argument that actors can use various kinds of capital to advance their interests in public deliberation. Based on research on participatory budgeting in the city of Rosario, Argentina, the thesis demonstrates that state-sponsored arenas of deliberation can work as strategic social fields that ground struggles for recognition in new forms of capital. On the basis of “deliberative capital” participants can demand recognition from fellow citizens and political decision-makers. The case study of Rosario’s participatory budget demonstrates that participating citizens expected public recognition for their commitment to deliberative values. The study shows, moreover, that local politicians had reasons to respect participants’ independence from the government. Participatory budgeting could serve the political purpose of legitimizing the government on the condition that participants were recognized as independent actors who work in the interest of their neighborhoods.

These arguments are presented in three essays, each making distinct contributions to debates on deliberation and inclusion. The first essay makes a theoretical argument for utilizing Bourdieu’s concepts of field, investment and capital in theorizing on public deliberation. The second essay provides an empirically grounded argument for thinking of empowerment in terms of deliberative capital. The third essay demonstrates a mechanism of non-cooptation that should be of wider relevance to debates about the merits of deliberative governance projects in urban politics. Taken together, the essays demonstrate that citizens can capitalize on an interest in legitimizing power through deliberation by conditioning their participation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Statsvetenskapliga institutionen , 2014. , 47 p.
National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Political Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-232462ISBN: 978-91-506-2419-9 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-232462DiVA: diva2:748163
Public defence
2014-10-31, Brusewitzsalen, Statsvetenskapliga institutionen, Gamla torget 6, Uppsala, 13:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-10-10 Created: 2014-09-18 Last updated: 2014-10-10
List of papers
1. Strategies of Deliberation: Bourdieu and Struggles over Legitimate Positions
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Strategies of Deliberation: Bourdieu and Struggles over Legitimate Positions
2015 (Swedish)In: Political Studies, ISSN 0032-3217, E-ISSN 1467-9248, Vol. 63, no 5, 1103-1119 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Bourdieusian contributions to the discourse on deliberative democracy have recently proved issues of ‘deliberativeinequality’ to be more complicated than previously imagined. Some have come to question the desirability orsufficiency of deliberative forms of politics. Others, like James Bohman, have found Bourdieu’s theorizing lacking theconception of people’s reflexive capacities required to understand social and political change. Critics and defendersof deliberative politics alike place Bourdieu in opposition to deliberation. In contrast, this article argues that Bourdieuprovides, through the concepts investment, field and symbolic capital, an alternative vision of deliberative change. Thisalternative view bases strategies for change on investment in social fields, in which agents work for the expansion ofnorms that allow them to make legitimate claims. Empirical findings from the literature on participatory budgetingsupport the argument that the Bourdieusian view is highly relevant to debates about the transformative potential of‘mini-publics’ in deliberative systems.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell, 2015
Keyword
deliberative democracy, Bourdieu, equality, public sphere, marginalization
National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Political Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-232412 (URN)10.1111/1467-9248.12139 (DOI)000368235700008 ()
Available from: 2014-09-17 Created: 2014-09-17 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
2. Deliberative Capital: Recognition in Participatory Budgeting
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Deliberative Capital: Recognition in Participatory Budgeting
2016 (English)In: Critical Policy Studies, ISSN 1946-0171, E-ISSN 1946-018X, Vol. 10, no 4, 391-409 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article suggests (1) that deliberative democrats seeking to understand the conditions of inclusion in the public sphere should reconsider whether deliberative 'skills,' 'competence,' and 'capacity' are adequate to capture what effective participation requires, (2) that they would understand this differently, and better, by thinking in terms of deliberative capital, a concept more sensitive to how norms condition recognition of legitimate speakers, (3) that interpretive inquiries focused on practices in concrete deliberative fields can enrich our understanding of the conditions of inclusion. This article presents an account of participatory budgeting in Rosario, Argentina, based on observations and interviews with participants, and focuses on interpreting the meanings that participation has for citizen 'councilors'. It finds that deliberative practices produce alternative sources of recognition, on the basis of which members of the field of deliberation expect recognition also outside the field. The concept of deliberative capital brings to the fore the symbolic values of deliberative practices and provides an alternative view on how they matter for participation in the wider public sphere.

National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Political Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-232416 (URN)10.1080/19460171.2015.1077718 (DOI)000389959000001 ()
Available from: 2014-09-17 Created: 2014-09-17 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
3. Reasons of Power: explaining non-cooptation in participatory budgeting
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Reasons of Power: explaining non-cooptation in participatory budgeting
2016 (English)In: International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, ISSN 0309-1317, E-ISSN 1468-2427, Vol. 40, no 2, 378-394 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Research on the use of participatory budgeting (PB) in urban politics has, perhaps not surprisingly, found that PB participants are often coopted by the government. From a realist perspective, however, it is more surprising that cooptation does not always occur and the mechanisms of non-cooptation are still not well understood. Previous research has often explained successful outcomes in terms of the ideology of incumbents or the strength of social movements demanding participation. In contrast to both these explanations, this article suggests that an important part is played by the political interest of political elite actors in the independence of PB participants from the government. Presenting the case of PB in Rosario, Argentina, the article finds that three conditions made it rational for political actors not to coopt participants. First, a legitimacy crisis created incentives to invest in a new field of state-civil society interaction. Second, state actors involved in the creation of the field came to invest in the meanings and values of the field. Third, the field of PB could produce legitimacy for the government by being perceived as independent. The article reasons that we can expect these mechanisms of non-cooptation to be at work in much the same way in other places under similar circumstances.

National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Political Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-232418 (URN)10.1111/1468-2427.12378 (DOI)000385767700007 ()
Available from: 2014-09-17 Created: 2014-09-17 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved

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