Muddy Waters. Democracy and Governance in a Multilateral State

The point of the project is to conceptualise participation in a way that catches changing meanings of participation. This is done by analyzing new modes of talking about participation, citizenship and democracy versus new modes of governance in a context of a multilateral state. The study aims to develop a contextualized view on current trends that change the meaning of participation and citizenship: localization of governance, privatization of the public sphere, consumerization of citizenship, i.e. de-politization of political participation.


The research questions are:

-         What are the modes of talking about participation? How is participation and citizenship constructed, and what is the space for citizen participation in the new situation?

-         What are the contextual changes that effect participation? What are the discussions and attempts to analyse this change? How can this be evaluated?

-         In what ways are power relations reordered in the new situation? What is politicized vs. de-politicized? What is made public vs. private? What is centralized vs. decentralized? What is counted as politics vs. government?


The project consist of three levels of analysis that use different types of data and different approaches: a) the textual, b) the anthropological, c) the historical. Methods used in the project are specific to each level of analysis: a) rhetorical and discourse analytic research on official documents and current project publications, b) interviews and ethnographies of local reception of the new language of the documents, c) historical interpretation of ways of conceptualizing citizenship and participation, historical evaluation of projects aiming at enhancing participation and citizen involvement.