Governance and Democracy katarsis survey Paper



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GOVERNANCE AND DEMOCRACY 

 KATARIS PROJECT



 

61

 



 

 

 



 

What are the contours of Tower’s ‘autonomous geography’? The terrain we are concerned 

with relates, firstly, to the available and potential organizational socio-economic space and, 

secondly, to workers effective influence and control within and over such space. All social 

space is bounded by history, context and culture (Lefebvre, 1991). Of course, space itself does 

nothing: it is always mediated by social action and different spaces are articulated and 

constructed through interactive social processes. Our data suggests that social actors can 

develop and deploy different discourses which ‘imagine’ alternative (or competing) spaces 

which other actors are then persuaded or cajoled to occupy and enact. It is not that ‘new’ 

spaces (which did not “exist” before) have been created but that social actors have refocused 

attention away from one ‘dominant’ space to an alternative possible space which, for a variety 

of reasons, has become visible, available and, perhaps, necessary. In this sense we have 

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 



incrementally 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 (Macadam et al 

2001). 


3.7. 

Relations to other existential fields 

Governance and democracy are relevant for all existential fields due to the dialectics of form 

and content. Socially creative strategies in the labour market, education and training, health 

and environment and housing and environment all have a strong content dimension which is 

always related to the way the initiative is undertaken. 

The case studies of the Territorial Employment Pacts and the Tower Colliery relate to 

questions of employment being tackled in WP 1.1. In the latter case, the workers took over the 

management of the company and thereby created a cooperative – a classic form of solidarity – 

based economy. This form of a socially innovative strategy not only created employment 

opportunities and relatively high salaries but also formed the basis for the emergence of forms 

of socio-economic citizenship. The social learning aspect of this sort of citizen’s governance 

will be discussed in the next paragraph. The case study of Porto Alegre highlights important 

elements concerning socially creative strategies in the fields of education and housing. 

Concerning housing, the provision of social housing was directly linked to participatory 

democracy as budgetary decisions taken within the participatory setting favoured housing for 

socially deprived groups. This focus was facilitated by the use of democratically discussed 

technical criteria. The strongest socially creative impact was registered in the field of 

education, as the direct confrontation of people with their fellows fostered mutual learning 




CAHIERS DU CRISES 

 COLLECTION ÉTUDES THÉORIQUES 



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processes in a sense of popular education (Freire 1968/1996). The satisfaction of basic needs 

was linked to the emergence of a republican notion of citizenship which hints at the 

emergence of citizen’s governance. Similar processes could also be registered in the case of 

the Tower Colliery, where these processes of mutual understanding and democratization 

occurred between the workers. Thus, the case is a very good example of the links between 

socio-economic citizenship and popular education. 

Environmental issues were problematic in the case of Porto Alegre, which showed the 

difficulties of linking participatory settings with a strong social focus to environmental issues. 

This is especially striking, as the report on health and environment of WP 1.4 shows that poor 

people are especially vulnerable to threats posed by environmental degradation (cf. Dietz 2007 

for a governance perspective). Concerning Environmental issues, being dealt with in WP 1.4, 

the perspective of multi-level governance counterposes the potentials of solutions to problems 

on a local scale. Especially concerning climate change, international organizations are 

extremely important. Thus the danger of localism is especially inherent in this field, where 

strong strategic selectivity excludes marginal actors – especially on the international scale 

(Brunnengräber 2007). 



GOVERNANCE AND DEMOCRACY 

 KATARIS PROJECT



 

63

 



 

 

 



 

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This chapter summarizes and structures the reflections by analyzing the new modes of 

governance and relates democracy to governance by focussing on key questions of 

socioeconomic development. For this sake, we will compare the case studies being exposed in 

chapter 4 with other European governance practices, derived from studies which appear either 

in the annex and were thus specifically written for the purpose of KATARSIS or with research 

in relevant governance practices being published in academic journals. This shall then provide 

the basis for a further understanding of the described case studies. 



4.1. 

Consensus and Deviant Mainstreaming 

It is difficult to apply a ‘pure’ notion of neoliberal governance, as attempts at re-embedding 

the economy have often resulted in more hybrid and open forms of governance. Nevertheless, 

both conservative and progressive forces have increasingly accepted liberalism as the 

dominant discursive field, as the “discourse of social change” (Bowles/Gintis 1986: 25). 

“Liberalism rarely, if ever, exists in pure form; it typically coexists with elements from other 

discourses, strategies, and organisational patterns. Thus it is better seen as one set of elements 

in the repertoire of Western economic, political and ideological discourse than as singular, 

univocal, and internally coherent discourse of its own right” (Jessop 2002: 453). Today 

diverse forms of liberalism exist. Not only extremist neoliberalism, but national, authoritarian, 

economic, but also “advanced” (Isin, cited in: García 2006: 751), left and social currents of 

liberalism try to become hegemonic and to impose their variant of liberalism as dominant 

(McNeill 2003; García et al. 2007: 5). Current dominant models are hybrid and contested 

variants of liberal governance, as the cases of Barcelona, Montreal and Denmark 

(Andersen/Pløger 2007; Fontan et al. 2007; García et al. 2007; Pløger 2007) show. While 

Barcelona avoids opposition by a form of consensus building and inclusive policies, Montreal 

integrates diverse interests in a corporatist model. In Denmark a progressive holistic approach 

has been politically aborted and neighbourhood policies have become ethnisized. In neither of 

these cases, textbook neo-liberal governance patterns cannot be diagnosed in a strict sense. 

But liberal traits do exist in all the presented cases, as variants of “actually existing 

neoliberalism” (Brenner et al. 2005). Corporatist modes of governance re-emerge in different 

settings, which we referred to as multilateral governance in table 2. Especially the case of 

Quebec has demonstrated that a type of governance characterised by the participation of a 





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