Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2463

Article | Open Access

Counter-Governance: Citizen Participation Beyond Collaboration

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Abstract:  The theory and practice of urban governance in recent years has undergone both a collaborative and participatory turn. The strong connection between collaboration and participation has meant that citizen participation in urban governance has been conceived in a very particular way: as varying levels of partnership between state actors and citizens. This over-focus on collaboration has led to: 1) a dearth of proposals in theory and practice for citizens to engage oppositionally with institutions; 2) the miscasting of agonistic opportunities for participation as forms of collaboration; 3) an inability to recognise the irruption of agonistic practices into participatory procedures. This article attempts to expand the conception of participatory urban governance by adapting Rosanvallon’s (2008) three democratic counter-powers—prevention, oversight and judgement—to consider options for institutionalising agonistic participatory practices. It argues that these counter-governance processes would more fully realise the inclusion agenda that underpins the participatory governance project.

Keywords:  agonism; collaborative governance; counter-democracy; counter-governance; participation; participatory governance; urban governance

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/pag.v6i1.1221


© Rikki John Dean. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.