Resident Inclusion in the Age of Participation: A Study of Toronto’s Participatory Budgeting Pilot Project 2015-2017

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  • Participatory budgeting and other participatory forms of public engagement have reached a high point of popularity as a best practice of democratic government. This gives some cause for celebration for those seeking to democratize democracy. However, recent scholarship has revealed a perplexing paradox in how new opportunities for resident involvement remain countered by pre-existing approaches to decision-making guided by abstract notions of public interest. This dissertation investigates this paradox by focusing on one of the newest cases of participatory budgeting in North America emerging from one of North America's biggest cities. As an investigation of the City of Toronto's participatory budgeting pilot project, running from 2015 to 2017, this dissertation demonstrates that this paradox is indeed taking place in Toronto. Using a Gramscian analysis of power with a particular focus on the construction of knowledge, this dissertation provides a plausible narrative of how participatory ideals are mobilized alongside prevailing forms of authority to provide new participatory opportunities for involvement without a significant transition of power.

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  • Copyright © 2021 the author(s). Theses may be used for non-commercial research, educational, or related academic purposes only. Such uses include personal study, research, scholarship, and teaching. Theses may only be shared by linking to Carleton University Institutional Repository and no part may be used without proper attribution to the author. No part may be used for commercial purposes directly or indirectly via a for-profit platform; no adaptation or derivative works are permitted without consent from the copyright owner.
Date Created
  • 2021


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