Participatory Democracy or Clientelistic Participation?
Chapter 4 shows that the case of participatory planning in Nezahualcóyotl closely corresponds to the ideal type of clientelism. The persistence of this traditional type of state-society relationship in the city despite the existence of formal participatory channels is explained by two factors. First, a tendency of institutional design to encourage individual and particularistic forms of mobilization is observed. Second, the local sociopolitical context—characterized by high political competition among and within parties and an imbalance of civil society organizations engaged in the process that maintain unequal understanding of state and society actors’ roles in the process—contributes to maintenance of control strategies in participatory mechanisms that, in turn, undermine the autonomy of civil society participants.
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