Governance and Democracy katarsis survey Paper

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New government – New ideology – New policy 

At the end of 2001 national government changed and the Liberal and the Conservative Party 

came to power. Since then, it has changed the political climate and institutional framework for 

the Danish urban policy completely. In general, the new government has favoured/upgraded 

the entrepreneurial side of urban policy and downsized the holistic and social dimensions. At 

the institutional level, the change has been very dramatic. The new government for the first 

time in Danish history abolished urban politics as a policy field and even closed down the 

newly established Ministry of Urban Affairs. The abolition was a clear signal about less 

emphasis on the social dimension of urban policy, and for instance housing renovation and 

physical planning was transferred to the Ministry of Business (“Erhversministeriet”) and the 

“Kvarterløft” programme was transferred (with some budget cuts as well) to the new Ministry 

of Integration.  

Compared to the initial holistic social action programmes in deprived neighbourhoods, this 

was a clear signal about redefining and reducing the issues about social cohesion and 

integration in deprived neighbourhoods to a question about ethnic related tensions in these 

neighbourhoods. The signals from the government with regard to urban policy are, therefore, 

that urban policy is no longer a comprehensive holistic district policy field, but should be split 

into separate entrepreneurial issues and “ethnic control” issues. This will most likely lead to a 

further widening of the gap between the two faces of urban policy. 


Governance and Democracy: A Reflexion Inspired by the Quebec 




This text is a collaborative work and constitutes the response of CRISES’ members of the 

KATARSIS network to a survey sent out by the WP1.5 leaders. In a first step, each of four 

authors formulated their own answers to the survey questions. In a second step, these 

researchers met to discuss and identify the principal elements to include in the summary. 

While inspired by global theoretical and social reflections on governance, their approach was 

also shaped by the Quebec context, which is the focus of their work. 



   This chapter was written by : Jean-Marc Fontan, Denis Harrisson, Juan-Luis Klein and Benoît Lévesque, CRISES, Université du Québec 

à Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada. 











Preliminary Considerations  

The modes of governance depend as much on the orientations, perspectives, and strategies of 

the main forces in power at the global level as on the institutions and arrangements that shape 

the conduct of actors and that concern all actors affected by the exercise of that power.  

To study and characterise governance, we propose to analyse the components of these social 

arrangements, namely, 1) the social actors (private and public, representing the social 

economy and civil society); 2) the institutional forms, which may be competitive or non-

competitive, coercive or incentive-based; and, 3) the organisational forms, i.e., the 

coordination and interaction of actors, which may be formal or informal, monistic or 

pluralistic. These elements will then allow us to identify many modes of governance.  

In this context, we put forward the hypothesis that in Quebec, a pluralistic, almost hybrid, 

mode of governance has been in place for many decades, involving actors from the private 

sector, public authorities, and social organisations. This situation has not been impervious to 

neoliberal ideas that have gained ground globally. For the sake of established social 

compromises and historically-based institutions, governance in Quebec is characterised by 

social arrangements in which its actors and the various forms of the social economy play an 

important role. Coined in Quebec as the “Quebec Model” («modèle québécois de 

développement »), the mode is very distinct from those found in other Canadian provinces and 

in North America as a whole. Challenges to this system, inspired by recent neoliberal politics

have reoriented some of its underlying social arrangements but have not been able to dissolve 


The work done by CRISES and its affiliated collectives on the theme of the Quebec model 

focus on various aspects depending on their disciplinary orientation and their theoretical 

leanings. For example, works based on a territorial approach offer analyses or studies that 

highlight local governance, whereas those inspired by sociology focus on interactions and 

social relations. Likewise, works realized by labour specialists tend to concentrate on the 

analysis of corporate governance. 

The works of CRISES draw from three main theoretical orientations: neo-institutionalist 

theories (schools of regulation and convention theory), collective action theories (resources 

mobilisation and social movements), and theories of governance regimes (corporate, urban). 

The challenge for our team and all researchers conducting studies on governance is to offer a 

holistic perspective that integrates and incorporates the various theoretical and methodological 

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