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UC researcher defends that refounding civic participation is an imperative for the reconstruction of the “new normal”

With several countries in the world making a gradual departure from the so-called lockdown adopted to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, Giovanni Allegretti, researcher at the Center for Social Studies (CES) at the University of Coimbra (UC) and coordinator of PEOPLES – Observatory of Participation, Innovation and Local Powers -, affirms that it is important to “remind the political class that the participation of citizens in the reconstruction of society in the post-emergency period is fundamental”.

In a reflection on the role of citizens after the pandemic, Giovanni Allegretti stresses that “it is clear that participation will have to be rethought. People are afraid to be reunited in large groups, and are probably saturated with technology in their lives, but above all, they want to be heard on major issues, such as the reconstruction of social status (especially education and health) and the fight against new ones. inequalities and exclusions‘. The CES researcher argues that Portugal cannot be left out of this debate.

Giovanni Allegretti

«We are one of the few countries that has had hundreds of local participatory budgets and up to three experiences promoted by the national government, and the RAP (Network of Participatory Autarchies) is unique in the European panorama.
For two months, our formalized participatory processes were on stand-by mode, blocked by social distance and sanitary emergencies. But now it is time to share, share the reconstruction, channel the new forms of solidarity and playful activism that were born in the emergency, and to transform them into strategic activism», explains the coordinator of the Observatory of Participation, Innovation and Local Powers.

Thus, continues Giovanni Allegretti, so that the new world “is really new, the State cannot act alone. Institutions are inertial and political elites do not have enough creativity to put themselves in the place of the many different people who make up our society. In order not to repeat the mistakes of the past, we do not need assistentialism or paternalism, but that citizens be recognized the right to participate, especially after these months of tragedy, with our responsible and proactive behavior“.

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