Governance and Democracy katarsis survey Paper



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GOVERNANCE AND DEMOCRACY 

 KATARIS PROJECT



 

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The most important methodological result of this report is the continuing necessity to combat 

governance and democracy as “chaotic concepts” (Sayer 1984), used within very different 

theories and paradigms and eclectically applied to a broad range of activities and structures. It 

covers corporate governance as a business concept, good governance as a normative liberal 

best-practice model and governance as governing an enlarged state via networks. Democracy 

can be reduced to occasional voting, include the common deliberation in the political sphere or 

include the joint decision making on socio-economic and political development, including 

rule-setting. Therefore, conceptual clarification was crucial. Most case studies used a broader 

concept of democracy and a more analytical understanding of governance. However, there are 

cases which stressed the corporatist dimension of governance, like Quebec, Barcelona and 

Porto Alegre, and others than refer to more micro-organisational structures, like Tower 

Colliery and Denmark stressing deep political conflicts.  

The most important premise followed in the elaboration of this report is the dialectical 



relationship between the content and the process dimension of social exclusion and socially 

created innovations. This stress on the relationship between agency and structure, as well as 

bottom-up and top-down strategies is crucial to consider structures of social exclusion 

focussing on different forms of domination to avoid a simplistic embrace of socially creative 

strategies that might lead to unintended negative consequences. In most of the case studies 

there is the inherent danger of being too localist. But overcoming social exclusion in a 

sustainable way needs to systematically reflect on power relations and requires a 

scalar-sensitive approach. This was stressed by the case studies which showed, that socially 

creative strategies that lead to democratization and the integration of formerly excluded actors 

have to include decisions on access to material resources. In this respect, scale was particularly 

relevant.  

As development is an integral process, we tried to capture the multiple aspects of governance 

and democracy and to present them in their contradictoriness. Out of the case studies no best 

practices can be deduced, although the case studies give important lessons on power, scale and 

socioeconomic democracy. But context-specific lessons can be drawn from all cases which 

hint at underlying structural dynamics. It permits drawing context-specific policy lessons for 

fostering socially creative strategies. These are already relevant bridges for further elaboration 

in WP 2 to WP 5.  




GOVERNANCE AND DEMOCRACY 

 KATARIS PROJECT



 

 

 



 

 

 



75

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This report on governance and democracy linked conceptual clarification to empirical case 

studies presented by members of the KATARSIS network. It is a reflection on SCS in a 

context when the national power container that organized welfare and democracy is eroding 

and new permeable forms of welfare and democracy have to be elaborated to combat social 

exclusion. The end of clearly bordered politics and policies has led to the spread of diverse – 

often localised and fragmented – activities. Many efforts at social inclusion start from these 

types of innovative activities often linked to some form of participatory governance. But this 

has often fostered elitist forms of governance of the more powerful or better educated, 

paradigmatically exposed in the Danish case study. Huge parts of the population remain 

excluded from these new forms of governance. There is still a huge gap to bridge to organize 

democratic governance in a situation of eroding parliamentary politics in the nation state. The 

main challenge for KATARSIS consists in elaborating forms of upscaling local and bottom-up 

initiatives. “Urban and regional forms of citizenship” (García 2006) which substantiate the 

continuous relevance of territorial citizenship in the context of multilevel governance (García 

2006) might be one step in this direction. 






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