Making Participatory Governance Work: the case of Radzionkow community in Upper Silesia Region in Poland
Department of Social Structures Institute of Sociology, Jagiellonian University in Krakow Krakow, Poland
The paper examines role of civil society organizations and their impact on local decision making as well as on local development policy. It provides extended case study of Radzionkow in Upper Silesia in Poland presenting processes and factors of community empowerment, local governance structures and civil society. Radzionkow is a well-known case of participatory governance, it represents a success story and something of exception in Poland.
The paper characterizes institutional settings in which public and civil society actors interact, as well as the role of civic sector in local policy-making. It attempts to analyse processes and factors of community empowerment, local civil society, civic participation and local governance structures, as well as their local manifestations. It analyses actions undertaken it the community, verifying the idea of participatory decision-making in the local ground.
It provides as well some explanations of driving forces of the participatory community development, which lay mainly in the history of the Upper Silesia region and the Radzionkow community (historical sociology perspective), assessing the levels of cultural, social, and human capital. All of them decided upon the success in the fight for the municipality independence and upon the rapid development of the social space of the town. Today, historically shaped social networks, social ties, ability to co-operation, social trust, local identity and traditional values compose fundamental resources, based on which development in the municipality is created and public sphere is built.