Struggles over expertise: Practices of politicization and de-policization in participatory democracy

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There is growing concern among democracy scholars that participatory innovations pose a de-politicizing threat rather than an asset for democracy. This article tackles this concern by providing a more nuanced understanding of how politicization and de-politicization take shape in participatory initiatives. Based on ethnographic research on participatory projects with marginalized people who are invited to act as experiential experts, the article examines how actors limit and open up possibilities to participate. By focusing on struggles concerning the definition of expertise, the article identifies a threefold character of politicization as a practice within participatory innovations: 1) illuminating the boundaries that define the actors’ possibilities, 2) making a connection between these boundaries and specific value-bases, and 3) imagining an alternative normative basis for participation.
Original languageEnglish
Journal Democratic theory : an interdisciplinary journal
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 5141 Sociology
  • 5171 Political Science

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