Introduction. Since the beginning of the 1990s, local authorities in many European countries have introduced new participatory forms of policy-making in an attempt to reverse perceived downward trends in political participation (Daemen and Schaap 2000; Akkerman, Hajer and Grin 2004; Zittel and Fuchs 2007). Such initiatives are marked by inherent tensions. The new arrangements should be set-up in such a way that they can address the alleged crisis of legitimacy in local democracy. This implies that they should provide citizens with enough scope for effective participation. On the other hand, it would be unusual for political elites to endorse reform strategies that they perceive as threatening their own ‘political primacy’. For example, experiences with ‘interactive governance’ in the Netherlands indicate that politicians find it difficult to adapt to this type of participatory arrangement and to invent new constructive political roles (Klijn and Koppenjan 2000; Edelenbos 2005). This chapter addresses one of the ‘puzzles’ of local democratic reform: tensions between representative and participatory democracy (see Chapter 1 of this volume). The purpose of this chapter is to explore these tensions within different national institutional contexts and to ascertain how a new balance can be found between these two ideals and forms of democracy....

Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Edwards, A. (2012). Tensions and new connections between participatory and representative democracy in local governance. In Renewal in European local democracies: puzzles, dilemmas and options. doi:10.1007/978-3-531-18763-1