Environmental policies and citizens´ participation in Spain
Sociology and Social Anthropology University of Valencia Valencia, Spain
Citizen participation is often presented as a necessary part of the process of defining and managing environmental policies. In fact, it is generally regulated in a variety of ways that affect people?s rights to enquire, request and receive information. This paper examines three aspects of this issue within the context of Spain: the legal and political limits of citizen participation rights, showing their inferior position in relation to conventional political participation; specific examples of citizen involvement in environmental conflicts, which operates by means that are often outside the regulated channels; and the social functions of requests for regulated participation, which indicate a remarkably contradictory situation. In actual fact, this participation takes very different forms, sometimes going through the channels defined by governments, though often consciously ignoring or questioning them. To ensure a sufficiently comprehensive analytical approach, it should be included a conflict sociological view.