Governance and Democracy katarsis survey Paper



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GOVERNANCE AND DEMOCRACY 

 KATARIS PROJECT



 

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The increasing importance of civil society, partnership-based governance, and the expansion 

of democracy have prompted a review of the fundamental stakes involved in the problematics 

of governance. These stakes are intrinsically linked and feed on each other to some extent, as 

the expansion of democracy is essential to a solidarity-based governance that includes all of 

the actors. This also implies broadening the understanding of democracy. While representative 

democracy can sufficiently maintain government-market relations on a social level, the same 

cannot be said of participative democracy, which is dominated by a new actor, specifically, 

civil society. The latter demands new means of expression (public-hearing offices, 

consultation forums, etc.). Thus, while mobilisation suffices to implement an inclusive and 

solidarity-based governance project, participative democracy is required to put it into 

operation.  



3.5.5. 

The Transformation of Governance in Businesses 

Although this paper focuses on modes of governance that concern the general interest, 

governance in businesses also merits attention. We point out here that the renewed interest for 

governance is inherent to a new attitude towards business management, in which shareholders 

delegate power to decision-makers who have special interests. In this sense, businesses have 

often made their CEOs into shareholders in order to align their own interest with those of the 

other shareholders.  

When owners (an increasingly dispersed set of shareholders) mandate managers to ensure the 

direction and management of a company, the modes of organisational governance must be 

restructured. In large firms, shareholders mandate agents (managers) to make decisions, all the 

while knowing that the latter can act on the basis of their own interests (in line with the notion 

of a Homo Economicus). The concept of “stakeholders” indicates that the shareholders are not 

the only interested parties. The latter include contractual stakeholders (workers, suppliers, 

clients) and miscellaneous stakeholders (those affected by positive and negative externalities, 

such as the local collectivities and civil society).  

Applying the “stakeholder” theory to a company can serve a purpose when the modes of 

exercising power show their limits and are challenged, and when the actors, dissatisfied with 

the decisions made on their behalf, reclaim a part in the decision-making process.  




CAHIERS DU CRISES 

 COLLECTION ÉTUDES THÉORIQUES 



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3.5.6. 

Governance and Social Inclusion at the Local and Regional Levels 

Governance is the fruit of the social, economic, and territorial arrangement of actors. 

Capitalism is not “disorganised”, as was claimed in the 1980s, but rather, is in a process of 

reorganisation, which is different. Within that reorganisation, democratic, state-centred 

institutions that were built in the spirit of the so-called “nation states” of developed Western 

countries are brought into question. The social arrangements are refocusing on diverse issues 

at various levels, each of which has a different territorial scope. This structures multi-scalar 

governance at many levels. The territorial dimension of those arrangements corresponds to the 

scale at which coalitions and alliances take shape, at times corporate (urban regimes), at times 

solidarity-based (community development), as a result of the actions initiated by local 

identities. 

This process has positive and negative sides. On the positive side, it calls on the participation 

of actors that are otherwise excluded from the exercise of power, according to formulas and 

modes that vary according to each case. In this context, often as a result of the struggle of 

collectivities for their viability, social innovations emerge from certain localities, minor 

experiences, and local initiatives before being distributed by recognized networks. The former 

very often emerge from cooperative movements or unions, municipalities, school networks, or 

the health-services network. These experiments leave a lot of room for the actors, their 

competencies, their available resources, and their capacity to form alliances and networks. On 

the negative side, the actors' focus on local interests, even in the context of participative 

governance, can give rise to intense interterritorial competition to attract or maintain 

investments. This erodes solidarity at the supra-local (regional, national, and international) 

scales.  

3.5.7. 

The Case of Quebec 

As mentioned in our introductory thesis statement, Quebec has demonstrated that a type of 

governance characterised by the participation of a plurality of actors and by the hybridisation 

of the diverse forms of governance is possible in the context of current-day capitalism. In 

Quebec, three forms of governance (public, partnership-based, and neoliberal) have taken 

place successively throughout the past forty years. However, two main forms predominated 

initially, namely, hierarchical and public governance (1960–1980) and partnership-based 

governance (1981–2003). The rise to power of the “Parti libéral du Québec” (PLQ) in 2003 

and its more neoliberal agenda then favoured a more competitive mode of governance for 





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