Governance and Democracy katarsis survey Paper

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In our inquiry we have tried to overcome a single-focused analysis through the parallel 

examination of the content and the process dimension of inequality. Nevertheless, we will 

elaborate on the process dimension in somewhat more detail, focusing on democratic 

governance as an important prerequisite for social innovations.  

The main exclusionary dynamics in the field of governance and democracy will be presented 

in box 1. These tendencies refer to the problematic of exclusion from governance, whereas 

exclusion  through governance is given less emphasis. Concerning the links between 

governance and democracy, the main concern is with people who are being excluded from 

political decision making. Nevertheless, exclusion through governance remains important as it 

leads to exclusion from areas being explored in the other existential fields. The organizational 

design of governance mechanisms may also lead to exclusionary dynamics, which leads to 

cases where exclusion through governance also implies exclusion from governance. 

Box 2 shows the socially creative strategies to overcome the exclusionary dynamics being 

displayed in box 1. The main emphasis is given to democratic innovations which foster the 

public spirit of political decisions – especially concerning participatory innovations and 

community-based initiatives. These can be regarded as innovative as they are responses to 

problems concerning the bureaucratic character of the welfare state. However, these 

innovations are Janus-faced, as they may also reinforce exclusionary dynamics which will be 

explained in the paper. 

The paper deals with the issues of “Governance and Democracy” and relates them to questions 

of social exclusion from and through governance mechanisms and possible socially creative 

strategies to overcome the exclusionary dynamics. This text is a focussed survey, relating the 

recently emerging “governance” theories to the field of democracy. It is a joint effort which 

includes the input of various partners from different institutions


. In this introduction, the most 

important terms are explained to clear the ground for a first approximation to the relevant 

exclusionary dynamics and the concerning socially innovative responses. This will provide the 

basis for the identification of particular foci being dealt with throughout the paper in chapter 1. 

Chapter 2 will then summarize important theories for the empirical cases being dealt with in 

chapter 3. In chapter 4 we will identify specific initiatives which have the potential to 

represent  ‛best practices’. These practices will be analysed critically to show the problems 

resulting from the application of the socially innovative responses to exclusionary dynamics. 

Chapter 5 will focus on the aspects of multi-level governance to give further emphasis to 



  The contributions by the non-coordinating partners will be either explicitly marked in the document or appear in the technical annex, if 

not previously published.  










questions related to scale. Chapter 6 will focus on methodological implications of the findings 

from the previous chapters. 

BOX 1 

Main Exclusionary Dynamics 


Liberal forms of governance privatise the public domain, thereby limiting access to 

public goods. 


Elitist forms of governance undermine democracy and produce political exclusion. 


Republican value “one (wo)man – one vote” is replaced by flexible forms of elite 

representation and limited participatory spaces. 


Proliferation of clientelist patterns of political decision making. 


Strengthening of the leadership-role of political and business élites. 


Relations between the local level and higher territorial levels induced by recent 

globalisation processes: effects on specific territories and processes of local 



Tension between (economic) space of flows and (political) territory. 


Restructuring of existing national and regional institutions (hollowing out of 

existing parliamentary democratic institutions – tendency towards managerial 

forms of governance and growth alliances). 


Rule-bound governance imposed on public budgets, agencies and enterprises 

limiting democratic space of manoeuvre (e.g. New Public Management). 


Tension between plurality of cultures (diversity) and a single market 



Exclusion of women from and through governance settings. 


Strategic selectivity. 


Voting rights. 


Differing capacities for political mobilisation. 












BOX 2 

Socially Creative Strategies "out" of Exclusion 



Bottom-up empowerment strategies (democratisation and participation of civil society, 

local self-organisation). 


Experimentation with the democratisation of society, economy and politics: There are 

no creative strategies “out” of exclusion that only have to be copied. Social innovation 

and experimentation is needed to increase participation of all the populace. 


Combine universalistic elements of the welfare state with pluralist service delivery at 

the local level. 


Valorisation of participatory methods at the local and initiative level (new forms of 

participation and new actors in the process of institutionalisation; integrated approach 

in territorial policies and practices). 


Sovereignty and multiscalar politics: search for a new definition of sovereignty in 

Europe: How to reconcile democratic sovereignty in a territory with multi-scalar 

dynamics, diversity and transborder modes of governance? 


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