COLLECTION ÉTUDES THÉORIQUES
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
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.
à Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada.
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
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