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Open Access 2023 | Open Access | Buch

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Made-to-Measure Future(s) for Democracy?

Views from the Basque Atalaia

herausgegeben von: Julen Zabalo, Igor Filibi, Leire Escajedo San-Epifanio

Verlag: Springer International Publishing

Buchreihe : Contributions to Political Science

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Über dieses Buch

This open access volume analyses the development of democracy at different levels of governance (from local to global). The Basque search for an institutional and democratic model that adapts to its social needs and solves its problems offers an interesting perspective for analyzing the way in which democracy is seeking new forms of materialization from the local to the global. The volume is divided into four parts.

The chapters in Part I analyze the tensions between the neoliberal vision of democracy and the voices contesting it, with projections at different levels of government. The chapters in Part II focus on the emerging framework and scales of Western democracy. The chapters in Part III present new forms of citizen participation, paying special - though not exclusive - attention to new practical strategies for Basque society. The volume concludes with a block of chapters on the relevance of reviewing the methodological and epistemological frameworks from which knowledge about democracy and mechanisms of citizen participation is generated (Part IV). By delving deeper into the idea and practice of democratic governance, this volume will be of interest to researchers and students from all disciplines of politics, international relations, sociology and law.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Open Access

Contemplating from the Basque Atalaia the Challenges Posed by the Different Forms and Scales of Contemporary Democracy
Abstract
For various reasons, which are explained in this chapter, Basque society is a privileged vantage point (atalaia in Basque) from which it is possible to approach the emerging forms and scales of contemporary democracy. From this vantage point, we contemplate the dangers and inadequacies of Western democracies, and the ways in which, from the local to the global, strategies, experiences and new democratic proposals are spreading. All these phenomena are grouped into four blocks, to which various contributions are made throughout this book, in the conviction that in the face of the current erosion, it is time to develop a new present for democracy. First, there is a block of analysis and reflections on the neoliberal attempt to domesticate democracy, in which the first chapters of this collective work are located. Second, there is a section analysing the new citizenship practices that are emerging in Western democracies. Third, there is a section on the evolution of the concept of participation and the new practical strategies to which it is giving rise. And, fourth and finally, attention is given to the fourth block, on the methodologies and research approaches that are currently used to observe democratic phenomena.
Igor Filibi, Julen Zabalo, Leire Escajedo San-Epifanio

Open Access

The Challenge of Finding a Cosmopolitan Democratic Model
Abstract
There is no doubt whatsoever that the current political structure of world society does not correspond to the objective needs of humanity as a whole. Issues that assume global dimensions can only be suitably addressed by means of a public authority whose power, constitution and means of action are also of a global dimension. In this sense, it is logical to consider the prospect of, or need for, a world government. However, the fact of taking politics onto the global stage should not entail the dissolution of democratic politics or, in other words, the loss of fundamental rights and freedoms, constitutional guarantees, citizenship or public space within our societies. This is one of the great challenges currently facing us, which obliges us to invent another form or other forms of democracy more in tune with the global era. The search for some kind of response to this challenge is, indeed, the fundamental requirement of this study.
Argimiro Rojo Salgado

The Tensions Generated by the Neo-liberal Attempt to Domesticate Democracy, at State and Global Level

Frontmatter

Open Access

The Neoliberal Commercialisation of Citizen Participation in Spain
Abstract
In view of the global participatory turn that is occurring in Western democracies, this chapter aims to ascertain the particular form that this turn takes in Spain. To this end, a genetic analysis of the institutionalisation of citizen participation in the country, between 1978 and 2017, is carried out. This analysis reveals the neoliberal trend of the participatory turn as it has taken place in Spain. The text describes three movements that make up the diagnosis of the neoliberal participatory turn: (1) the naturalisation of a topos with a mechanistic nature of democratic crisis, (2) the neoliberal bureaucratisation of participation and (3) the privatisation of participation. The general lines of the three movements are explained, and the particular analysis of the third of them, the neoliberal commercialisation of citizen participation, is described.
Jone Martínez-Palacios, Andere Ormazabal Gaston, Igor Ahedo Gurrutxaga

Open Access

Responses from Urban Democratization to Global Neoliberalism
Abstract
Walking, feeling, breathing in, and getting lost in the streets are the best ways to get to know a city. When moving through a city in this way, we can see social imbalances, segregated spaces and neighborhoods, and changes in the landscape. Beneath what lies in plain sight lie mechanisms and regulatory apparatus. These include norms and socio-institutional structures that operate at different scales, from the local to the supranational. As we describe in this chapter, these influence urban dynamics beyond what our senses perceive directly. While we must take into account relationships between social agents, we must not overlook interactions between the agency itself and broader local, national, and international structures.
Processes of capitalist globalization, until 1970, unfolded mainly within the framework of nationally organized state territorialities. More recently, these dynamics have changed and increased the importance of sub-national and supranational forms of territorial organization. This in turn has produced a process of rescaling and reterritorialization of capital and power. This is clearly reflected in the transfer of economic-policy authority and jurisdiction from states to the scales mentioned above. In this chapter, we show that both state territoriality and national governance are being redefined and deemphasized toward both wider and narrower scales. This makes up part of a neoliberal strategy to confront crises and be able to regulate capital accumulation more directly.
We read the new role of local agency, as already signaled, on the basis of this diagnosis, and in a context of neoliberal rescaling. We recognize the value of forms of collective action, as well as that of the actors who, with a will toward transformation, have managed to reinvent their activity and delve into different forms of urban democratization.
Iago Lekue, Imanol Telleria

Open Access

State Construction and Democratization: The Basque Union Majority in the Face of Systemic Exclusion
Abstract
This chapter seeks to analyze the tension between strategies for de-democratization – the privatization of democracy – and democratization in operation in the contemporary state. We begin by conceptualizing the state, adopting a strategic-relational approach that allows us to overcome the structure-agency division and to understand the state as a complex relationship. We situate this theoretical reflection within the study of neoliberalism as a form of governmentality, offering an approach that is not limited to the field of economics. Neoliberalism is driven by states, through states, and develops within states themselves. Therefore, on a more concrete level, we analyze the most direct consequence of neoliberalism: the privatization of democracy. While this model does strategically reinforce private institutions and actors, it is also necessary to study the resistance and alternative proposals for democratization that arise in response. We analyze the case of Basque majority unionism to draw attention to democratization strategies employed by subjects formerly included in the “power bloc” and subsequently expelled in the post-Fordist era. We conclude that one strategy for democratization is based on a re-territorialization of power through public institutionalization, including not only the subjects and classes more recently excluded from power through neoliberal governmentality, but others that were not central in other forms of governmentality either. We call this strategy “communitarian statism.”
Jon Azkune, Jule Goikoetxea, Eneko A. Romero

New Practices of Citizenship in Emerging Scales and Frameworks of Western Democracy

Frontmatter

Open Access

Postpandemic Technopolitical Democracy: Algorithmic Nations, Data Sovereignty, Digital Rights, and Data Cooperatives
Abstract
COVID-19 has hit citizens dramatically during 2020, not only creating a general risk-driven environment encompassing a wide array of economic vulnerabilities but also exposing them to pervasive digital risks, such as biosurveillance, misinformation, and e-democracy algorithmic threats. Over the course of the pandemic, a debate has emerged about the appropriate democratic and technopolitical response when governments use disease surveillance technologies to tackle the spread of COVID-19, pointing out the dichotomy between state-Leviathan cybercontrol and civil liberties. The COVID-19 pandemic has inevitably raised the need to resiliently and technopolitically respond to democratic threats that hyperconnected and highly virialised societies produce. In order to shed light on this debate, amidst this volume on “democratic deepening”, this chapter introduces the new term “postpandemic technopolitical democracy” as a way to figure out emerging forms and scales for developing democracy and citizen participation in hyperconnected and highly virialised postpandemic societies. Insofar as the digital layer cannot be detached from the current democratic challenges of the twenty-first century including neoliberalism, scales, civic engagement, and action research-driven co-production methodologies; this chapter suggests a democratic toolbox encompassing four intertwined factors including (i) the context characterised by the algorithmic nations, (ii) challenges stemming from data sovereignty, (iii) mobilisation seen from the digital rights perspective, and (iv) grassroots innovation embodied through data cooperatives. This chapter elucidates that in the absence of coordinated and interdependent strategies to claim digital rights and data sovereignty by algorithmic nations, on the one hand, big tech data-opolies and, on the other hand, the GDPR led by the European Commission might bound (negatively) and expand (positively) respectively, algorithmic nations’ capacity to mitigate the negative side effects of the algorithmic disruption in Western democracies.
Igor Calzada

Open Access

The City, Urbanization and Inequality
Abstract
Taking the city and the urban environment as a starting point, this analysis looks at globalization and the inability that states have so far demonstrated to find solutions to the political, socioeconomic and ecological problems of our time. The public policy of the “30 glorious years” (1945–1975) in Spain and later neoliberal privatizations paved the way for productive accumulation to be replaced by financial accumulation, which, to a large extent, is speculative. Working- and middle-class majorities are disintegrating; broad sectors of society have become atomized and are being subject to increasingly precarious conditions. Inequalities are accentuated, and social class is becoming more diffuse. Is now the time to revive the centralized statism of the post-WWII period? It seems not. From an eminently geographical perspective, this text proposes a reappropriation of the public space of cities to pave the way to a new way of urban life. Local and regional settings offer opportunities to explore alternative forms of production and democracy.
Jordi Borja

Open Access

Democracy Beyond the Nation-State: From National Sovereignty to Pluralist European Sovereignty
Abstract
European integration was a response to the different crises faced by European nation-states after the two world wars – a major political innovation that has made it possible to build a structural peace model, reinforce fundamental values and rights and establish a market that has been the basis of its economic prosperity. Following an initial phase of institutional development of the community model, integration, particularly since the Empty Chair Crisis, has drifted towards an increasingly intergovernmental model in greater tension with the foundational supranational spirit. In recent years, Europe has again found itself faced by enormous challenges (economic crisis, Brexit, pandemic, rise of new powers, etc.). On this occasion, the EU has succeeded in adopting an Economic Recovery Plan that includes an ambitious EU debt programme to finance projects of recovery and structural transformation of the EU economy. Moreover, for several years the EU has been engaged in a debate on its future, which began with the Commission’s White Paper in March 2017 and will culminate in 2022 with the conclusions of the Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE). However, the interesting concepts included in the debate – strategic autonomy, European sovereignty – run the risk of limiting their scope to functional developments, without sufficient exploration of democratic aspects. Furthermore, the concept of European sovereignty, if restricted to a replication of state sovereignty on a European scale, would find its transformative and democratic potential significantly curtailed.
Javier Uncetabarrenechea, Igor Filibi

Open Access

The Construction of a Global Democracy Through Peoples’ Participation on the International Stage: The Case of the International Peoples’ Assembly (IPA)
Abstract
Increasing peoples’ participation on the international stage has become particularly important in recent decades. From the protests in Seattle against the WTO summit in 1999 to the consolidation of counter-summits or international structures like La Vía Campesina, the articulation and participation of civil society in the context of specific international proposals respond to a loss of legitimacy on a global scale on the part of liberal democracy and to a need to redirect the course of democracy towards a model based on participation in order to guarantee social justice or equality.
Continuing in this vein, in this work we will analyse the case of the International Peoples’ Assembly (IPA) as a new peoples’ proposal of articulation of progressive and revolutionary forces on every continent.
In a work focused from a global perspective, we will examine the potential relevance of the IPA with a view to achieving objectives that are extremely difficult to attain within the framework of the nation-state, such as the goal of establishing a counter-hegemony that is strong enough to reverse the power relationships that currently favour the interests of corporate capitalism.
Leire Azkargorta Mintegi, Unai Vázquez Puente, Xabier Albizu Landa

Open Access

Popular Power as Subject of Democratic Transformation: A New Power for the Emergence of Communal Democracy
Abstract
Within the current systemic crisis is a profound political crisis of liberal democracy. Against this backdrop, all over the world disruptive and community social dynamics are emerging that project new forms of democratic intensification. In this text, from the theoretical perspective, we want to analyse popular power as community subject of transformation for the reinforcement of a model of communal democracy as an alternative to the liberal model. Analysing popular power is a complex meta-process that encompasses different spheres of action and collective organisation. After reviewing the historical appearance and the very concept of popular power, we analyse the emergence of popular power as a dynamic process in three dimensions. First, we analyse the gradual construction of a new type of power, confronted by established power, where different theoretical positions are considered vis-à-vis the idea of counter-power, dual power and popular power, and the dialectic relationship between the destituent, instituent and constituent strength of popular power. As well as the transit from “the taking” of power to construction, there is also analysis of the relationship between new power and state power and popular power’s relationship with the struggle for social and cultural hegemony. We then analyse popular power as a democratic project in opposition to liberal democracy, with consideration of some characteristics of the democratising practices of community dynamics. Finally, we analyse popular power, beyond the individual subject of modernity, as the construction of the collective subject that articulates different subordinate sectors and stems from social spaces currently organised to project new, more advanced organisational forms. New temporal, spatial, scalar and articulating logics are proposed with a view to constructing that collective subject. We conclude by presenting popular power as a process of dynamic construction of a new subject of transformation that develops political participation, democratising dynamics and processes of political change, via its own dynamics of self-construction and articulation.
Saúl Curto-López, Luis Miguel Uharte Pozas

Deepening Democracy, Analysing Practical Strategies for the Participation of Basque Society

Frontmatter

Open Access

Exploring the Right to Decide: From a Liberal Democratic Concept to a Radical Democratic Tool Approaching the Basque Case
Abstract
Political participation in liberal democracies has often been understood as a means with limited scope and on requiring highly specific terms, but, in point of fact, it has a long tradition in territorial disputes and those relating to different legal, political and administrative systems. Its traditional legal form is the right to self-determination. Nevertheless, limitations identified in western democracies prompted a search for fresh theories, and the latter have given rise to the principle of the right to decide. It is a principle that is linked to democratic decision-making rather than to the resolution of territorial conflicts, though its development may have been seen mainly in relation to these types of issues. As we shall demonstrate, the theory relating to the right to decide has undergone a radical evolution in the Basque Country, as well as receiving contributions from a variety of social movements, often in sectors not strictly concerned with territorial disputes. In this process, the major pro-sovereignty stakeholders, particularly political parties, have doubts about the new direction being taken by the sovereignty movement, and controversy has ensued as to how to approach this concept.
Ander Vizán-Amorós, Julen Zabalo, Amalur Álvarez

Open Access

Exploring New Citizenship Practices: The Meaning of Young Activists’ Political Engagement in the Basque Country
Abstract
The article analyses the meaning of innovative activist practices carried out by politicised young people in the Basque Country while considering the lines of continuity and rupture of said practices with respect to the political tradition in which these young people were socialised. To this end, we have referred to the results of qualitative research carried out with the aid of in-depth interviews during 2018. The analysis demonstrates that young activists are gradually moving away from intermediation by institutionalised political actors who have, so far, led political opposition in the Basque Country and proposes new, less formal, ways of relating to politics. More specifically, they are shifting political participation to areas of daily life, thus broadening the meaning of politics and redesigning the limits of the political arena. Their practices are understood as acts carried out by activist citizens who transform diverse social spaces into citizenship building sites. The transformation of young participants into activist citizens is underpinned by the existence of a particular structure for political opportunity in the Basque political field: a long-standing culture of community politics, characterised by counter-hegemonic activism and linked to nation building projects, in which they are socialised at an early age. Nonetheless, the new generations of activists tailor the acquired dispositions in this politicised context to the current conditions of individualisation and distancing from institutions, typical of the second modernity.
Ane Larrinaga, Onintza Odriozola, Mila Amurrio, Iker Iraola

Open Access

Considerations on the Democratic Challenge from the Perspective of Social Services: Community, Participation and (In)equality
Abstract
This chapter offers a view on the need to find a more democratic approach to the social services system. We start from the premise that the current social services system encounters serious difficulties when trying to respond to, and transform, the different problems facing a social reality greatly impacted by injustice and social inequality. The commitment to greater democracy is therefore inevitable from the point of view of what was supposed to be one of the fundamental pillars of the welfare system. A review of some documents and access to some survey data afford an opportunity to discuss what we have called “greater community”/“intensified community”, understood as a strategy allowing social services to develop a model based on participation and community perspective as preferential lines of intervention. The defence of this intensified community allows us to recognize the importance of working with the community towards the construction of active citizenship, this being understood as a fundamental condition for developing democracy. Following an overview of the main postulates supporting this interpretation, a brief summary of the reality of the Basque social services system is provided with the aim to outline the scope of greater community proposed herein.
Nerea Zubillaga-Herran, Noemi Bergantiños

Open Access

Participation, Immigration and Subjective Perception of Integration in the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country
Abstract
Since the beginning of the twenty-first century, Basque society has been undergoing an intensive process of ethnocultural diversification, a consequence of the latest international migratory flows. For the Basque Country, these flows imply a new migratory cycle which, as on former occasions, helps further diversify an already diverse society. From the point of view of a cohesive society, the integration of these new migrants is a key element. What is the role of social and political participation in the integration process? This paper aims at providing an answer to the question. There may be a variety of forms and models for defining what is understood as integration. However, it is generally agreed that participation is a major factor in this integration process. This consensus is based on the fact that participation is a fundamental, democratic element which is related to political and civil rights, the community system and a society’s citizens. From the democratic viewpoint, having immigrants participate is, therefore, a fundamental aspect.
In this work, we intend to analyse the relation between the participation of people of foreign origin residing in the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country (CAPV) and their subjective perception of integration. To this end, we based our work on the Basque Government’s Survey of the Foreign Immigrant Population (EPIE), a survey that allows us to analyse the subjective perception of integration of people of foreign origin depending on the different forms of engagement and their sociodemographic and migratory profile. The findings helped show the existence of a positive relation between participation and the perception of integration. Furthermore, it was likewise observed that the different participation profiles identified vary depending on the nature of the organisation in which they participate, the migratory stage and their socio-economic characteristics.
Arkaitz Fullaondo, Gorka Moreno

Critical Vision of the Epistemological Methodologies and Frameworks from Which Contemporary Western Democracy Is Analysed

Frontmatter

Open Access

Methodologies for Transductive Strategies
Abstract
The first four sections offer an overview of debates that have taken place in the last 50 years in the social sciences, using extended quotations from different authors. The argument covers texts from May 1968 and Marxisms in dispute, socio-analysis or institutional analysis, constructionist polemics, feminist contributions, and the ecology of knowledges, among others. The last part of the text explains social praxis (built up over the last 30 years) as a confluence that has been created from the contributions mentioned above. This is done not just by applying what has been learned from these approaches but also considering new practical techniques, by which it has been demonstrated how it is possible to take each one of the steps, or “transductive leaps,” that we take in networks, processes, and movements.
Tomás R. Villasante

Open Access

Social Transformation Through Supervision in Participatory Action Research
Abstract
In this chapter we present a new research model, which we call the PARS model. It represents a synergy between participatory action research (PAR) and supervision: Participatory Action Research Supervision (PARS).
Social work professionals confront a reality characterized by inequalities and social injustices that stymie any form of democracy. In this context, the action-research methodology presented in this paper aims to generate commitments to participatory and democratic processes, community development, and social cohesion.
The research process itself has led to transformations, notably in terms of the dialogue and effective collaboration between academics and professionals. It has been demonstrated that alternative, constructionist, and critical-reflexive forms of knowledge are possible. These alternative models are far removed from the positivist paradigm which is part of the heritage of the social sciences in their most instrumental and pragmatic expression.
The first part of the chapter outlines the theoretical basis of the PARS model, including its epistemological foundation, methodology, and application. In the second part of the chapter, the application of this model in a specific investigation is described. This investigation was a collaboration between the School of Social Work at the University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU and the Department of Social Services of the Vitoria-Gasteiz City Council. The research aims to promote strategies that contribute to the improvement and transformation of the professional practice of social work, as well as the living conditions and coexistence of citizens in our local context.
Ainhoa Berasaluze, Maddalen Epelde-Juaristi, Miren Ariño-Altuna, Charo Ovejas-Lara

Open Access

Exploring Analytical Tools for Democratic Deepening: Intersectionality in Our Research
Abstract
In the context of academic neoliberalism, there is an urgent need to explore tools for critical analysis that can facilitate the development of research and knowledge-making processes that respond and actively contribute to projects of democratic deepening committed to social justice. This chapter responds to this need and explores the potential of intersectionality in this area. By approaching intersectionality as an analytical sensibility, this chapter explores the potential of an intersectional interpretive framework to generate knowledge practices that can make contributions to the design, implementation, and development of reflexive democratic deepening processes which take into account the complexity with which human relationships are interwoven with dynamics of domination and privilege. It does so by outlining different uses of intersectionality in the context of two research projects that have made up part of our professional research careers: Unveiling Oppression and Resistance of Women in Zumarraga and Stigma at the Service of Power. Through the diverse and complex uses that these projects have made of an intersectional interpretive framework, we demonstrate the potential of intersectionality and the analytical tools it deploys to identify and confront one-dimensional and disempowering perspectives on oppression. Through this process of reflection, the text delves into an approach which understands intersectionality as an open, reflexive, and complex tool essential for advancing toward a democratic deepening prioritizing social justice concerns. The ultimate conclusion reinforces the maxim that democratic deepening will be intersectional, or it will not be.
Uxue Zugaza Goienetxea, Idoia Del Hoyo Moreno, Miriam Ureta García

Open Access

Rethinking Relationships Between Public Institutions and Community Initiatives: The Cases of Astra (Gernika) and Karmela (Santutxu, Bilbao)
Abstract
In the Basque Country, popular movement and local community initiatives have precipitated interesting changes in the relationships and the form in which dialogue is conducted between social movements, public administrations, and politicians. Based on two of these initiatives, the objective of this chapter is to analyze alternative models of relationship between public administrations and social movement networks and initiatives. The chapter also draws attention to contributions that the university and the social sciences can make in terms of both facilitating the internal strengthening of community initiatives and increasing their legitimacy with respect to public administrations and other community agents. To this end, we highlight the epistemological importance of studying and increasing the visibility of instances of political creativity. These initiatives make important social contributions including the community management of disused spaces; free training, leisure, and culture activities; places for rehearsal and experimentation; barter, recycling, and responsible consumption; and material and emotional support for marginalized people. However, they also facilitate the democratization of political institutions, expanding the horizon of what is understood as possible and achievable. After contextualizing and briefly presenting the two case studies, we conclude that a careful dialogue between popular initiatives and public administrations facilitates a strengthening of both these spaces and grassroots participatory networks of political participation. These networks contribute to the coexistence of diverse groups and identities; to social cohesion and community connectedness; to social and institutional transformation; and to the de-commodification and de-bureaucratization of spaces for the exercise of civil rights and for the self-managed satisfaction of social and cultural needs.
Izaro Gorostidi, Zesar Martinez
Backmatter
Metadaten
Titel
Made-to-Measure Future(s) for Democracy?
herausgegeben von
Julen Zabalo
Igor Filibi
Leire Escajedo San-Epifanio
Copyright-Jahr
2023
Electronic ISBN
978-3-031-08608-3
Print ISBN
978-3-031-08607-6
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-08608-3