Zdenka Mansfeldová is a senior researcher and head of the department of political sociology at the Institute of Sociology of the CAS. She focuses on the study of the functioning of modern democracies and their institutions, sociological aspects of security, and political and non-political forms of interest representation, with a long-standing interest in social dialogue.
Strengthening the civic capacity of communities on the example of participatory budgeting in the Czech Republic
Democratic resilience is understood as the ability to prevent a significant decline in the quality of democratic institutions and practices in situations of crises of various natures and to have mechanisms for dealing with them. Resilience in a broader sense refers to the ability of a society to systematically and quickly process information, learn, and react quickly in the face of unexpected developments (Multiresilienz). This implies the existence of a set of long-established social ties, strategies, policies, and communications that a society can use to deal effectively with a crisis. Societal resilience needs to be built and strengthened at different levels, including community levels. This means, among other things, overcoming the loss of confidence in the problem-solving skills of politics and political leaders, the declining willingness to classic political engagement, and citizens' resignation to participate in public decision-making.
One possible way is through the application of so-called democratic innovations, which represent a wide range of mechanisms aimed at expanding citizens' participation in political decision-making at different levels. From local to national and transnational. One of these practices is participatory budgeting. PB has the potential to encourage greater political activity, especially among citizens from marginalized groups. PB creates opportunities for collective action and self-organization. The paper analyses the application of participatory budgeting in the Czech Republic and shows its successes and limitations.