Journal section "Theoretical and methodological issues"

Forming the Practices of Citizens’ Participation in the Development of the Urban Environment: Habitualization or Institutionalization From Above

Smoleva E.O.

Volume 14, Issue 5, 2021

Smoleva E.O. Forming the practices of citizens’ participation in the development of the urban environment: Habitualization or institutionalization from above. Economic and Social Changes: Facts, Trends, Forecast, 2021, vol. 14, no. 5, pp. 244–260. DOI: 10.15838/esc.2021.5.77.14

DOI: 10.15838/esc.2021.5.77.14

Abstract   |   Authors   |   References
The article presents findings of a sociological research on the process of formation of social practices of citizens’ participation in the development of the urban environment. Creating a new, people-friendly urban space involves taking into account the interests of various population groups and working out the mechanisms for citizens’ involvement in urban management. The purpose of the work is to identify main ways for engaging citizens in the development of the urban environment by analyzing the processes of institutionalization. The theoretical and methodological basis of the research includes works devoted to social institutions and institutionalization, social movements as institutionalization agents, the right of citizens to participate in urban development, and the issues of civic participation in designing urban spaces. The analysis has identified main participants (actors) whose interests are affected when the issue concerning the development of the urban environment is formulated and addressed. We consider two processes of formation of the rules according to which the actors perform their functions in public arenas: from below through habitualization or from above as an import of social institutions. We show the differences in the process and results of institutionalization of civic engagement in the presence or absence of a conflict of interests among the main actors: society, government, business community. We compare the processes according to the following parameters: the nature of institutional changes, relations and actions, type of institutional changes, structure of political opportunities, and civic engagement levels. We draw conclusions about how the orientation of the processes affects the nature of civic participation. In particular, the loss of the “partnership” and “delegation of authority” stages in the process of institutionalization from above indicates a formal and imitative nature of the practices of civic participation in urban development. The novelty of the work consists in comparing the oppositely directed processes of institutionalization of civic participation (from below and from above) on the example of a specific sphere such as urban development


institutionalization, social institution, civic participation, social practices, habitualization

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