Local civic engagement in the public realm and the potential of interest groups Cover Image

Aktywność lokalna w przestrzeni publicznej a potencjał grup interesu
Local civic engagement in the public realm and the potential of interest groups

Author(s): Katarzyna Kajdanek, Jacek Pluta
Subject(s): Social Sciences, Sociology, Rural and urban sociology
Published by: Łódzkie Towarzystwo Naukowe
Keywords: local community; public realm; collective action; local authority; reflexivity; civic participation; interest groups; quality of life

Summary/Abstract: This article addresses the institutional changes in the public realm of the city and examines the relationship between the promulgation of the idea of civic engagement and the formation of interest groups in the city. Social urban movements, which are becoming more and more active, tend to make demands promoting stronger civic participation, which is seen as a “new opening” in mutual relations between the municipal authorities and citizens. Thus, social urban movements are contesting the omnipotence of local authorities, which has so far dominated in the public realm. In our analysis of current urban social movements we employ Anthony Giddens’ theory of structuration and collective action. We argue that the consolidation of a new institutional pattern, i.e. a transition from authorities’ omnipotence towards civic engagement, depends more on the capacity of inhabitants to form interest groups and take up regular activities aimed at controlling the public realm than on the power of the discourse created by the social movements. Our main goal is to assess, using empirical data, the capacity of inhabitants to become a meaningful party in the process of this institutional change.

  • Issue Year: 65/2016
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 101-124
  • Page Count: 24
  • Language: Polish