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Abstract

This article uses recent empirical results from a comparative Southern European study to show that the participatory practices commonly developed in this area are quite different from some of the common ideas related to deliberation in the English-speaking world. One of the main differences lies in the characteristics of the promoters, since most of them are top-down experiences organized by public authorities. The other main difference lies in the role played by equality concerns, which are quite marginal in most of these processes. In other aspects, like the role of participation professionals or the existence of important inequalities in the participation of different groups of citizens, the experiences developed in this area are not as different from what most of the comparative research has shown.

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