The project, entitled “Cities as Arenas of Political Innovation in the Strengthening of Deliberative and Participatory Democracy” (EUARENAS) led by prof. dr hab. Iwona Sagan from the Faculty of Oceanography and Geography of the University of Gdańsk received European Commission funding under Horizon 2020 Program.
The main objective of the project is to answer the following question, how can grassroot initiatives merge elements of participatory and deliberative democracies. The analysis of local actions will enable the evaluation as to what extent is the merger of two democracy types possible and the development of political model based on genuine dialog and compromise-seeking.
The proposed research is extremely relevant, especially at this time when citizens seem to play insignificant role in political decision-making process in Europe. What is more, the atmosphere of distrust and lack of faith in politicians are being fueled by populist and nationalist movements whose narrative depreciate the value of democratic system and EU’s defense of and support for Member States, pointing to the ‘uncontrolled’ migrations in Europe as a threat to societies, economies and culture. Above mentioned and other comparable tendencies and narratives can shake European values developed with effort, like multiculturalism and social cohesion.
In recent years, however, a new force is noticeable inside cities, namely urban movements and activists who get involved in local politics, care about social issues often neglected by the, so called, big politics. Those movements have started to exert their influence on political culture and leaders of those movements became real partners in decision-making processes.
The consortium received almost EUR 3 million in funding, of which over EUR 300 000 is intended for the University of Gdańsk.