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Title: Democratisation and participation in Spain : the case of Barcelona
Author: Blakeley, Georgina
ISNI:       0000 0004 2717 5249
Awarding Body: University of Bradford
Current Institution: University of Bradford
Date of Award: 2000
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This thesis explores the politics of the Spanish transition to democracy through the experiment in decentralised administration and citizen participation in Barcelona. Its focus is firstly on the role of citizen participation in processes of democratic transition and consolidation and, secondly, on the limits and possibilities of deepening democracy. Finally, it considers the tensions generated by attempts to create a more participatory democracy within the shell of representative liberal democracy. Chapter one provides a critical review of the literature on the Spanish transition to democracy. Chapter two provides an alternative framework, based on the concept of civil society, for understanding the process of democratisation in Spain. Chapter three analyses how associationalism has unfolded historically in Barcelona in order to build a picture of a civil society in a given social and historical context. Chapter four shows how civil society developed during the Francoist dictatorship from 1939 until 1975. Chapter five explores the process by which the political elites in Barcelona built on the legacy of the anti-Francoist opposition to create spaces and mechanisms of participation for associational activists, primarily via a process of decentralisation. Chapter six illustrates the tensions and limitations which have arisen from Barcelona's participatory experiment. The conclusion posits that it is difficult to sustain high levels of participation within a liberal democracy due to both structural and contingent limitations. However, the Barcelona experiment also shows that, notwithstanding the array of contingent and structural factors which serve to constrain participation, liberal democracies can be made more participatory.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available