Välfärdsstaden återbesökt. Politiskt deltagande i det nya Malmö


  • Tomas Bergström


Cities have developed a number of ways to secure participation from citizens in decisions about for instance the running of schools, childcare centres and care for elderly. Services of this kind are often seen as the core of welfare cities, and to secure a popular influence over the running of the services is central to questions of legitimacy. On the other hand, cities often nowadays spend time, energy and resources on facilitating investments, redeveloping run down city centres, and attracting a new class of well educated people. The latter kind of processes is often far from open, democratic and deliberative.

In a study from the early 1990s (Bergström 1993) it was concluded that the importance of city government for citizens’ lives had grown immensely since early 20th century. At the same time most indicators of popular influence and democratic activity were showing diminishing values over time. Most citizens were bystanders. The question is then whether participation has become even less likely given the focus on efficient welfare production and city recovery/growth lately, concerns that has a number of traits that could be antagonistic to participation. The results show that despite extensive attempts to use e-petitions and citizen panels traditional forms of influence keep loosing ground and cleavages between citizens increasingly becomes a problem.