How Participatory Budgeting Changes the Meaning and Practices of Citizenship


  • Marta Rios Alves Nunes da Costa UFSC



democracia, orçamento participativo, cidadania, igualdade, inclusão


What does it mean to be a citizen today? In an era where boundaries are being questioned, where identities are being transformed, where social and political claims are being updated from the traditional ‘recognition’ or ‘redistribution’ discourse to a more globalized discourse supported by a theoretical appeal to human rights, it is important to clarify where the ‘citizen’ stands, morally and politically speaking.

This paper is supported by a) a strong moral and political reading of citizenship, echoing some republican tradition where citizenship is associated with virtue; and b) the assumption that there is a strong correlation between virtuous citizens and a virtuous republic or ‘democracy’. In order to reflect upon the transformations of the concept of citizenship I will look at some of the practices it involves, more precisely, I will look into the participatory budgeting experience in Portugal trying to show how the progressive implementation of such measure promises to bring Portuguese’s democracy to a new level with a more robust practice of citizenship.

This paper has three moments: first, I will situate myself from a theoretical standpoint, regarding the concept of citizenship I want to defend. I will show how the way in which we conceive citizenship a) will determine the forms and shapes democracy can take and b) will influence the future of democracy, insofar it can contribute, enhance or undermine democratic aspirations and goals. Second, after arguing for an active sense of citizenship I will advance the argument that the future of democracy lies in participatory practices, in which the citizen plays a key role. Third, I will turn to a case study in order to illuminate my theoretical argument. Having participatory budgeting experiment in Portugal as paradigmatic case of analysis, I will identify some elements present in the Portuguese case that corroborate our hypothesis that the future of democracy must rely in participatory mechanisms and practices.


Biografia do Autor

Marta Rios Alves Nunes da Costa, UFSC

Professora Visitante

Pós-Graduação de FIlosofia