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Exploring the relationship between participatory engineering and political representation: The case of local political representatives in Sweden
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences. (Örebro School of Public Affairs)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5485-8577
2009 (English)In: the Nordic conference on municipalities (NORKOM  XVIII), Åbo 26-27 November 2009., 2009Conference paper, (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The health of political parties and representative democratic institutions have been extensively questioneddue to evidence of a widespread decline in voting turnouts, political trust, party membership and ‐ identification. Anoften proposed strategy to strengthen representative democracy is for political institutions to offer new forms ofpolitical participation, so called participatory engineering. This paper explores the possibility of participatoryengineering projects in local politics to influence more interactive modes of representation among local electedrepresentatives, by analyzing a survey of local political representatives in six Swedish municipalities. The study isbased on a comparative case selection made to include municipalities where the least and the most participatoryengineering projects have been carried out. The study reveals a complex relationship between participatoryengineering and political representation. Despite a tendency of more positive attitudes towards citizens’participation and more identification with interactive modes of representation, the attitudes of the representativeswith most experience of participatory engineering still, to a great extent, agree with a party centered role ofrepresentation where pursuing the party‐line is prioritized over citizen influence. The results can be understood asan illustration of the prevailing tradition of strong political parties in Sweden, and contribute to the understandingof the outcomes of projects of participatory engineering. This study suggests that the assumed relationship betweencivic engagement and democratic gods such as political interest, ‐knowledge, ‐efficacy, and participation must beinvestigated with reference to a possible hesitance among elected representatives to adapt citizen participation totheir style of representation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009.
Keyword [en]
Participatory engineering, politicians, local democracy, political representation, interactive representation
National Category
Social Sciences Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
Research subject
Political Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-12691OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-12691DiVA: diva2:376175
Available from: 2010-12-14 Created: 2010-12-10 Last updated: 2014-10-28

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf