Enhancing Democracy

Enhancing Democracy: Public Policies and Citizen Participation in Chile

Gonzalo Delamaza
Copyright Date: 2015
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 308
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  • Book Info
    Enhancing Democracy
    Book Description:

    Since the end of the Pinochet regime, Chilean public policy has sought to rebuild democratic governance in the country. This book examines the links between the state and civil society in Chile and the ways social policies have sought to ensure the inclusion of the poor in society and democracy. Although Chile has gained political stability and grown economically, the ability of social policies to expand democratic governance and participation has proved limited, and in fact such policies have become subordinate to an elitist model of democracy and resulted in a restrictive form of citizen participation.

    eISBN: 978-1-78238-547-9
    Subjects: Political Science, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. List of Tables
    (pp. vi-vi)
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-vii)
  5. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. viii-xii)
  6. Introduction. The Question of Democracy in a Democratic Society
    (pp. 1-16)

    When French philosopher Régis Debray visited Chile in 1971, he noted with astonishment that in downtown Santiago, amidst a radical political transformation led by the Unidad Popular administration, the texts of laws were for sale in the streets alongside newspapers and magazines. Vendors hawked the latest legal novelties and stop-press news items simultaneously. The current debate centred on the word ‘legality’. What kind of revolution, Debray wondered, was conducted in the name of the laws it sought to abolish? The conventional wisdom of the revolutionary theoretician was challenged by an original experience, which he nonetheless was not ready to disqualify....

  7. 1 Construction of Democracy, Public Policy and Civil Society’s Participation
    (pp. 17-62)

    Given the semantic versatility of concepts and the relationships among them, examination of certain terms central to analysis of the process of democratic construction is a necessary first step. Crucial to this end is establishing the conceptual association between governance on the one hand, and construction of democracy, civil society’s participation in the public sphere and the role of public policies on the other. Historically, such concepts have been approached separately, but taking such a tack in the Chilean case would inhibit adequate explanation of the process of transition to democracy. Fortunately, however, an available bibliography of Latin American origin...

  8. 2 Chile: Top-down Modernization and Low-intensity Re-democratization
    (pp. 63-103)

    Extended use of the terms civil society and state comes with a risk of reifying concepts beyond their empirical existence, as though each were an essential entity manifested variously, according to context. The fact is that every society is characterized differently; hence, the state or civil society existing in reality is not a variant of any essentiality but a way of naming a specific historic process.

    The present chapter will show the ongoing link or subordinate interrelationship Chilean civil society shares with the dominant state, mainly through the political system. In the twentieth century, these links were so significant that...

  9. 3 Social Policy Agendas in the Transition to Democracy
    (pp. 104-156)

    Since 1990, social policy has been the most innovative area of government action. Conceived as key factors ensuring governance during the political transition, these policies reinforce the economic model and restore some links between state and society. The importance of socially oriented public policy exceeds its considerable share of public expenditure—more than 70 per cent. In this chapter I argue that its importance is such that it has partly replaced the link between Chilean society and state that was historically the province of the political system and parties. The new link also has new consequences for society. Insofar as...

  10. 4 Civil Society, Public Policy Networks and Participatory Initiatives
    (pp. 157-206)

    This chapter empirically analyses the various ways in which civil society liaises with and influences public policy agendas. I have opted for a bottom-up approach, seeking to identify the spaces, issues and dynamics in which social actors have managed to install their demands and interests. This in-depth analysis does not cover the dynamics of social movements but rather the impact that different forms of social organization and collective action have on public policy. It first presents data on the characteristics of the Chilean civil society, stressing the organizational characteristics of different sectors. This is followed by an analysis of state...

  11. 5 From Civil Society to the State: A New Elite Is Born?
    (pp. 207-248)

    The third factor this work analyses to determine the potential and limitations of the civil society–state relation are the career paths that some individuals follow between both spheres. According to Dagnino, Olvera and Panfichi (2006: 76), ‘the notion of career paths is a methodological instrument that allows understanding the complexities, tensions and contradictions that accompany the transit of civil society activists to the political society and, particularly, to the state’. In this approach, the notion of career paths permits incorporation of a new angle on the empirical documentation of links, convergences and tensions between civil society’s dynamics and organizations,...

  12. Conclusion. Participation and Public Policy in the Chilean Democratic Process
    (pp. 249-270)

    This work has analysed the links between civil society and the state as factors in the construction of democratic governance during transition to democracy and its subsequent evolution. The analysis aims to expand conceptualization beyond the narrow frame imposed by thetransitologyor transition knowhow of the 1980s, which restricted democracy to a political regime to adapt it to the challenges of the twenty-first-century Latin American reality – an undoubtedly post-transitional scenario.

    Two main factors lend relevance to the multifaceted issue of civil society and its forms of association or participation in democratic construction of the public dimension. The first...

  13. References
    (pp. 271-291)
  14. Index
    (pp. 292-296)