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Participatory Frustration: The Unintended Cultural Effect of Local Democratic Innovations

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2019-03-02
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Sage
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Most research on participatory processes has stressed the positive effects that these institutions have in the relationships between public authorities and civil society. This article analyzes a more negative product that has received scant attention: participatory frustration. Departing from Hirschman’s cycles of involvement and detachment, the article shows four paths toward frustration after engaging in institutional participatory processes: (a) inflated expectations, (b) the failure of design and adjusting mechanisms, (c) poor results, and (d) abrupt discontinuations. Drawing on six cases in Spanish cities, this article proposes a reflection on how participatory reforms can contribute to feed frustration and political disenchantment.
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Funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness [grant CSO2012-31832].
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Administration & Society, 52(5), 718-748
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