Governance and Democracy katarsis survey Paper



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CAHIERS DU CRISES 

 COLLECTION ÉTUDES THÉORIQUES 



 NO 


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proposed that the social process can be described as deviant mainstreaming and that 

collectively similarly processes taking place in other organised settings can be described as 



incremental radicalism. In both the individual and collective case there is the potential for 

organisation such as workers cooperatives to move from being ‘contained contention’ to 

‘transgressive contention’ within the conceptual framework suggested by McAdam et al. 

2001. 


3.4. 

The Janus Face of Urban Governance in Denmark

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Danish urban policy and urban democracy can be characterised by a striking duality and 

tension between: 

 

Participatory empowering welfare oriented community strategies, which targets deprived 



districts and neighbourhoods, which are based on notions of the Inclusive City. This trend is 

founded on priorities of welfare inclusion and citizens empowerment. 

 

Neo-elitist/corporative market driven strategic regional and global growth strategies, which 



are based on notions of the Entrepreneurial Globalized City where the dominant rationality of 

urban policy is facilitation of the “growth machine”. 

In international comparisons Denmark is regarded as a relatively successful welfare model, 

but the “Danish Job Miracle” has to a large extent bypassed the deprived districts 

(Andersen/Hovgård 2003; Andersen 2005) Hence exclusion dynamics in terms of ethnic and 

social segregation, collective stigmatization of these areas – and very often combined with 

lower quality of public services (in particular schools etc.) came on the agenda since the 

eighties. The national response to this development came in 1993 (when the social democrats 

came back into power) in the form of a long-term social action programme based on the 

principles of multidimensional area-based action, participation (including participation of the 

Social Housing Associations) and partnership. The programme quickly became an innovative 

and experimental part of public planning and welfare policy. It had elements of a “politics of 

positive selectivity” (targetting the multidimensional dynamics of exclusion in deprived urban 

areas) and “social mobilisation” approach. In the implementation, the National Urban 

Committee (“Byudvalget”) has, in the negotiations about project contracts with the 

Municipalities and Housing Associations, insisted that citizen participation and empowerment 

orientation in the projects should be taken seriously. Hence the socially creative strategy in the 

best cases part was the “top-down” facilitation of local holistic social action programmes, 

 

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  This chapter was written by: John Andersen, Department of Environment, Social and Spatial Change, Roskilde University, Denmark. 




GOVERNANCE AND DEMOCRACY 

 KATARIS PROJECT



 

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which empowered community activist and NGO’s and represented “added value” to existing 

welfare policy.  

However the “Entrepreneurial City” growth policy and the area based social action 

programmes are not well orchestrated and integrated, but manifest themselves as two 

disconnected and contradictory parts of a new urban governance. (Fotel/Andersen 2003). 



3.4.1. 

Political Ambivalences – Summing up 

Looking back to the urban policy scenes of the seventies it is obvious that urban social 

movements are excluded from the new powerful Entrepreneurial City elite networks. On the 

other hand the voice of community activists re-entered the urban political scene since the mid 

nineties, not least because the state initiated the implementation of area based social action 

programmes in deprived districts. Many former activists now found a platform in which they 

could use their local knowledge and participatory skills in a new setting (Andersen/al. 1995). 

Hence, an ambiguous duality can be identified between (a) the strategies for economic 

revitalisation dominated by neo-corporatist, elitist governance and (b) the area based 

programmes for deprived districts influenced by planning ideas of social mobilisation 

(Friedmann 1987) and community empowerment (Craig/Mayo 1995). This dualism was also 

manifest at the state level, where the 1990s showed a growing tension between the Ministry of 

Financial Affairs, which emphasises the entrepreneurial and market aspects of urban 

governance, on the one hand, and the Ministry of Urban Affairs and Housing on the other, 

because they emphasised the need for comprehensive urban policy concerned with social 

integration, local creativity and empowerment and the avoidance of socio-spatial polarisation 

on the other. 

3.4.2. 

Conflicting Agendas and Lack of Cross Scale Strategies and Linkages 

The two-faced urban policy and governance present consist on the one hand of a 

Schumpetarian strategic growth policy, which sets the agenda at state, regional and municipal 

level, and on the other hand we have at district level a reinvention of participatory planning 

instruments supported by nationally funded social action programmes for the deprived urban 

areas. The missing links are, however, still those between the corporate growth and 

entrepreneurial strategy and the participatory programmes for social renewal in the deprived 

urban areas. 






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