From the participatory turn of administrations to the bureaucratisation of participatory democracy: study based on the French case


  • Gourgues Guillaume
  • Mazeaud Alice
  • Nonjon Magali

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This article sets out to contribute to the debate on the participatory turn of public action and the administration by studying the profile and work of civil servants dedicated to citizen participation within French local administrations. Counter to the rhetoric advocating the participatory modernisation of the administration, an analysis of the day-to-day work of civil servants in charge of participation makes it possible to grasp the dynamics behind the bureaucratisation of citizen participation. Without actually shaking up administrative routines, the specialist civil servants invent new routines essentially intended to maintain the arrangements set up, even when these have little or no effect on the conduct of public action. Points for practitioners This article provides an insight into the processes of administering citizen participation in France according to a double logic of specialisation and dissemination, and analyses the practical aspects of participatory work within the administrations.

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