Participatory democracy to the rescue of the paternalism of elected officials. On the political uses of a participatory budget

Do elected officials like democracy?
By Jessica Sainty

In this article, participatory budgeting in the town of Avignon since 2017 is used as a case study to highlight the relationships that elected officials tend to have with citizen participation. By looking at the ways in which they frame and manage participatory budgeting mechanisms, with the support of technical and administrative departments, the author reveals that there is an enduring paternalistic understanding of how local democracy functions. Such understanding implies a hierarchical view of democracy, in which representative mandates are still perceived as dominant, and even more legitimate than citizen participation.

  • participatory budget
  • local democracy
  • representative democracy
  • local elected officials
  • paternalism
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