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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

Enabling participation: emotions, relations and reflexive reorganization of local institutions

This article presents a critical analysis of a participatory action research between the authors' institution and the Community Development Directorate of Santiago Municipality. This work aimed to produce organizational change for implementing new citizen participation policies and to understand the interaction of individual, group and structural drivers and resistances to such change. Through workshops of organizational role analysis and related work, a communicative space was built to contain the paradoxes created by insufficient institutional support and lack of definition of the role of field work agents. This led to implement a new approach for citizen participation, with an unprecedented inter-sectoral structure within this municipality. However, under neoliberal constraints over public action and without structural incentives for bottom-up initiatives, this development was abandoned by the authorities during an unsuccessful reelection campaign. Nevertheless, these temporary achievements could help to inform and sustain long-term structural changes that are sorely needed in Chilean institutions.