The margins of what can be said within and outside of an institutional participation mechanism: Citizen debt audits in Madrid

By Jessy Bailly

This article takes a fresh look at the dynamics at work in participatory democracy initiatives, examining what it is possible to say and to make heard in these forums. The starting point is the experience of a citizens’ debt audit group in Madrid. Although its members succeeded in having their activist proposal institutionalized by the newly elected municipal government in 2015, they felt dissatisfied. While the adoption of the proposed mechanism has changed how public debt is discussed, the citizen-auditors consider that the institutional discourse, albeit renewed, collided with their attempts to impose their own version of the public debt problem.

  • Citizen debt audit
  • illegitimate debt
  • Madrid
  • institutionalization
  • space of the sayable
  • institutional discourse order
  • Spain
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