When Experts Feel Threatened - Strategies of Depoliticization in Participatory River Restoration Projects

Buletti Mitchell, Nora and Ejderyan, Olivier. (2021) When Experts Feel Threatened - Strategies of Depoliticization in Participatory River Restoration Projects. Area, 53 (1). pp. 151-160.

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This paper explores how experts involved in river management projects in Switzerland consider public participation. It reflects on the consequences that these considerations have on the potential for participation to become a political space. Public participation has become a standard practice in river management at the European level since the 1990s. In Switzerland, the federal government incentivises public participation in river-work projects through guidelines and additional subsidies for projects planned in a participatory way, with the goal of avoiding costly conflicts. Based on an analysis of expert discourses, we examine how experts activate three different arguments to depoliticise participation: that participation should be implemented to ensure acceptance of the project; that the exclusion of some actors is justified based on assumptions about the type of knowledge required for participation; and that disagreement should not be expressed within participatory processes but through representative politics. We conclude that the consistent motivation of experts to depoliticise also indicates a potential for participation to become political, which is worth exploring with new perspectives for engaging the public.
Faculties and Departments:06 Faculty of Business and Economics > Departement Wirtschaftswissenschaften > Professuren Wirtschaftswissenschaften > International Political Economy and Energy Policy (Kachi)
UniBasel Contributors:Ejderyan, Olivier
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:14 Sep 2021 09:17
Deposited On:14 Sep 2021 09:17

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