Accepted Paper:

has pdf download Deepening urban democracy?  


Clarissa Kugelberg (Uppsala University)

Paper short abstract:

Participatory and deliberative forms of policy-making are on the rise in Europe today. The paper presents a project of such networks in Sweden and proposes European multidisciplinary comparative research.

Paper long abstract:

A reoccurring idea in debates on public policy is that governing has become a more complex task, demanding broad mobilization of resources and competence. When a single authority and hierarchical decision-making fail, solutions are sought for across formal divisions of authority, across sectors in the public sphere, and often in co-operation with private actors. Such organizations may be called functional networks. Thus, citizen participation is increasingly called upon to serve as a democratic anchorage in functional networks. Such networks, however, are not easily reconciled with representative democracy. It is difficult to exercise political control over more or less independent actors who work in co-operation with each other.

My presentation has two targets. One is to present a newly started research project about such functional networks in the Stockholm metropolitan area. The other is to invite anthropologists to discuss a European multidisciplinary comparative study of functional networks in a number of European cities.

The Swedish study combines an anthropological understanding of culture with a political science focus on strategic actors. These new forms of governance have few formal rules and the fieldwork focuses therefore on the ways working rules are subject to negotiations and re-negotiations together with participants' efforts to make sense of the interaction and their positions. In order to understand the interactions and new (political) identities emerging in the networks, the participants' negotiations and the interaction are situated and examined in the context of the surrounding world of formal and informal relations.

Panel W089
Europe and anthropology: new themes and directions in Europeanist eesearch