Participatory Budgeting: Considerations about the Global Spread of a Local Practice

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 11:00 AM
Room: 301
Oral Presentation
Sérgio Henrique ROCHA FRANCO , Sociology Theory, UNIVERSITY OF BARCELONA, Barcelona, Spain
Wendell TEIXEIRA ASSIS , Instituto de Ciências Sociais, Universidade Federal de Alagoas, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
This article discusses the diffusion of the Participatory Budgeting (PB) as exemplary practice of governance and urban planning. In a context of democratic openness and strong needs of urban infrastructure, the PB was implemented for the first time in 1990 in Porto Alegre, as a local policy to meet demands for a more equitable distribution of public resources. In the following decades, the PB has spread among other major Brazilian cities like Belo Horizonte, Recife and São Paulo. The local democratic innovations linked to such experiences has crossed national borders and reached different social, economic and political contexts such as Montevideo, Buenos Aires, Lisbon and Berlin. Currently it is estimated that there are about 1000 PB’s around the world. Several factors explain this global spread of the PB such as the synergies within the World Social Forum and its legitimacy as a good practice by international organizations. However, after more than twenty years of its setting up, in which extent this practice conceived in the context of the global South has contributed to the establishment of a counter-hegemonic model of urban governance? Focusing on a paradigmatic experience, the BP of Belo Horizonte (Brazil) – one of the most enduring and on two occasions honored as Best Practice by UN-Habitat –, we intend to answer to this question and critically discuss the recognition, promotion and dissemination of the BP as model for urban governance under a general context of neoliberal politics.