Participation and Privatisation in Neoliberal Policies: The Case of Italian 'Piani di Zona'


Nowadays, participation is a core issue in the broad field of social sciences. In the specific context of social policy, citizen participation is viewed as a key element of local welfare systems, and particularly for the planning activities that are linked to it. The institutional documents which formalise these activities-‘Piani di Zona’ (PdZ, local 3-year social plan)-contain discourses that strongly emphasise the role of ordinary citizens and third sector organisations. Yet, despite the intentions proclaimed within the texts of the Plans, the type of participation effectively promoted by these documents seems restricted to certain organisations of civil society-well-structured interest groups-rather than to the general citizenry. So the texts of the PdZ do not describe in a clear and plausible manner the procedures by which the involvement of ordinary citizens should be made possible. This article aims to demonstrate that this discrepancy be-tween the purposes declared within the PdZ and the means to be deployed is a catalyst for a process of privatisation of social policies. To this end, the article focuses on the PdZ as documents containing dis-courses, and analyses them through the lens of critical discourse studies (CDS)

DOI Code: 10.1285/i20356609v9i2p414

Keywords: Local welfare; NeoliberalismVParticipationVPiani di ZonaVArea PlansVPrivatisation


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