Jeronimo Fernandez Cortes, 43, is a member of the Federación de Asociaciones Gitanas Calí (Federation of Gypsy Calí Associations), an organisation that is a participant in the Albacete Participation Forum.
Anna Pizzo is a director of Carta (a partner in Eurotopia), and has been a councillor for three years in the Lazio region. Inspired by the experience of Porto Alegre, she has been working on ‘the borderline’ between the movements and the political institutions, in order to open up the Lazio regional council to the demands and pressures of the movements.
Since 2002, the number of municipalities across Europe which have taken up participatory budgeting in some form has grown from just a handful to well over 150. Yet the nature – and success – of the schemes varies widely.
Everywhere – from Brazil to Britain, from Barcelona to Berlin – the reality behind the language of ‘participation’ is contested, complex and contradictory. To encourage and support participatory democracy, a political party has to lead processes of experimentation, critical reflection and challenge, through which people are able to educate themselves to become subjects and therefore knowing actors.
‘Citizens’ participation’ is a fashionable political concept, but one that increasingly means all things to all people. It is time to reclaim ‘participation’ from those who would use it simply to legitimise existing political institutions, argues Joan Subirats.
‘Citizens’ participation’ is a fashionable political concept, but one that increasingly means all things to all people. It is time to reclaim ‘participation’ from those who would use it simply to legitimise existing political institutions. This issue of Eurotopia explores different models of participatory democracy in Europe.