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Revisiting the democratic promise of participatory budgeting in light of competing political, good governance and technocratic logics

Cabannes, Y; Lipietz, B; (2018) Revisiting the democratic promise of participatory budgeting in light of competing political, good governance and technocratic logics. Environment and Urbanization , 30 (1) pp. 67-84. 10.1177/0956247817746279. Green open access

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Abstract

Participatory budgeting (PB) has been a major innovation in participatory governance worldwide, with more than 3,000 experiences listed across 40 countries. PB has diversified over its 30 years, with many contemporary experiments (referred to as PBs) only tangentially related to the original project to "radically democratize democracy”. We propose a taxonomy to distinguish the logics currently underpinning PB in practice: political (for radical democratic change), good governance (to improve links between the public and citizens’ spheres), and technocratic (to optimize the use and transparency of public resources for citizens’ benefit). Illustrating these competing rationales through contemporary experiences, we reflect on the contributions of the good governance and technocratic frameworks to managerial and state modernization. These help explain PB’s growing attraction for proponents of the good governance agenda. Rekindling PB’s promise for democratic deepening, we argue, requires refocusing on its deliberative quality. We draw attention to civic education and empowerment of participants. These are key to PBs’ intent to open pathways towards alternative political systems – indeed, of materializing Henri Lefebvre’s “right to the city”.

Type: Article
Title: Revisiting the democratic promise of participatory budgeting in light of competing political, good governance and technocratic logics
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/0956247817746279
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1177/0956247817746279
Language: English
Additional information: © 2017 International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED). This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: democratization, governance, local governments, participatory budgeting, right to the city, spatial justice
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Development Planning Unit
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10040074
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