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INSTITUTIONALIZING PARTICIPATORY DEMOCRACY AND THE EMERGENCE OF AN EPISTEMIC COMMUNITY IN SPANISH LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Authors


Miquel Salvador, Department of Political and Social Sciences, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, c/ Ramon Trias Fargas, 25–27 08005 Barcelona, Spain. E-mail: miquel.salvador@upf.edu.

Abstract

ABSTRACT: This article contributes to the academic debate on the emergence and configuration of an epistemic community and its encouragement of participatory democracy in local government. With a case study of the councils of cities in the province of Barcelona (Spain) with up to 5,000 inhabitants, where notable advances have been made in this field, a description is provided of the epistemic community and the activities it has undertaken to promote citizen participation. The results illustrate the role of the epistemic community in the establishment of participation units and its capacity to generate participatory processes in different spheres of local government with different levels of pre-existing institutional arrangements. However, questions arise concerning its capacity to maintain and extend its influence in spheres of advanced technical specificity and robust institutional arrangements, where negotiation is required to promote citizen participation.

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