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Participatory Urban Governance between Democracy and Clientelism: Brokers and (In)formal Politics

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






Project "BROKERS" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
postcode: 6525 EZ

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Netherlands [NL]
 Project website
 Total cost 1˙497˙570 €
 EC max contribution 1˙497˙570 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2015-STG
 Funding Scheme ERC-STG
 Starting year 2016
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2016-08-01   to  2021-07-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 


 Project objective

The emergence of participatory governance has resulted in the delegation of governmental responsibilities to citizens. Individuals position themselves as voluntary mediators, or brokers, between the government and their fellow citizens. This research asks: what are the roles of such brokers in participatory urban governance, and how do they influence democratic governance? This study will investigate ethnographically how brokers position themselves in administrative schemes, and examine the formal and informal dimensions of their performance. It will analyse the practices, discourses and networks, both in and out of officially sanctioned channels and government institutions. The research approaches brokers as ‘assemblers’, connective agents who actively bring together different governmental and citizen actors, institutions and resources. The scholarly debate on brokerage within participatory governance is divided into two different arguments: first, an argument about neoliberal deregulation located in the Global North, which encourages the practices of active citizen-mediators, and second, a modernization argument in the Global South, which sees brokers as remnants of a clientelist political system. This research will combine these arguments to study settings in both the North and the South. It employs a comparative urbanism design to study four cities that are recognized as pioneers in democratic participatory governance, two in the North and two in the South: Rotterdam (NL), Manchester (UK), Cochabamba (Bolivia) and Recife (Brazil). This research builds upon theories from political anthropology, urban studies, citizenship studies and public administration to develop a new framework for analysing brokerage in participatory urban governance. Understanding how the formal and informal dimensions of participatory governance are entwined will contribute to our ability to theorize the conditions under which this type of governance can give rise to more democratic cities.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2019 Koster, Martijn; Smart, Alan
Moving Beyond the Formal/Informal Dichotomy: Implications for Governance
published pages: , ISSN: , DOI:
Anthropologica 61(1) 2020-02-24
2019 Martijn Koster
Assembling Formal and Informal Urban Governance: Political Brokerage in Recife, Brazil
published pages: 25-34, ISSN: 0003-5459, DOI: 10.3138/anth.2018-0014
Anthropologica 61/1 2020-02-24
2019 Martijn Koster
An Ethnographic Perspective on Urban Planning in Brazil: Temporality, Diversity and Critical Urban Theory
published pages: , ISSN: 0309-1317, DOI: 10.1111/1468-2427.12765
International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 2020-02-24
2018 Flávio Eiró
Anti-poverty Programs and Vote-Buying Strategies. In: Kubbe I., Engelbert A. (eds) Corruption and Norms: Why informal rules matter.
published pages: 133-152, ISSN: , DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-66254-1_8
Corruption and Norms: Why informal rules matter. 2020-02-24
2017 Eiró, Flávio
O Programa Bolsa Família e os pobres “não-merecedores”: Poder discricionário e os limites da consolidação de direitos sociais.
published pages: , ISSN: , DOI:
Conference Proceedings: Anpocs Annual Conference, October 2017 2020-02-24
2018 Martijn Koster; Yves P.B. van Leynseele
Assembling development across the globe: Ethnographies of brokerageSpecial issue
published pages: , ISSN: , DOI:
Ethnos 2020-02-24
2017 Eiró, Flávio
O Programa Bolsa Família e os pobres “não-merecedores”: Poder discricionário e os limites da consolidação de direitos sociais.
published pages: 65-70, ISSN: 2237-6208, DOI:
Boletim de Análise Político-Institucional 13 2020-02-24
2018 Sabah Chalhi, Martijn Koster, Jeroen Vermeulen
Assembling the Irreconcilable: Youth Workers, Development Policies and ‘High Risk’ Boys in the Netherlands
published pages: 1-16, ISSN: 0014-1844, DOI: 10.1080/00141844.2017.1362452
Ethnos 2020-02-24
2018 Martijn Koster, Yves van Leynseele
Brokers as Assemblers: Studying Development Through the Lens of Brokerage
published pages: 1-10, ISSN: 0014-1844, DOI: 10.1080/00141844.2017.1362451
Ethnos 2020-02-24
2017 Brandt, Cyril; Eiró, Flávio
Qualitative corruption research methods: How to research corruption?
published pages: 34-43, ISSN: , DOI:
Interdisciplinary Corruption Research Forum, June 2016 2020-02-24
2018 Diego Lindoso, Flávio Eiró, Marcel Bursztyn, Saulo Rodrigues-Filho, Stephanie Nasuti
Harvesting Water for Living with Drought: Insights from the Brazilian Human Coexistence with Semi-Aridity Approach towards Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals
published pages: 622, ISSN: 2071-1050, DOI: 10.3390/su10030622
Sustainability 10/3 2020-02-24
2016 Martijn Koster
Brokers in Participatory Urban Governance: Assembling Formal and Informal Politics
published pages: , ISSN: 1958-5500, DOI: 10.4000/espacepolitique.3930
L’Espace Politique 29 2020-02-24
2018 Lindoso, D.P.; Eiró de Oliveira, F.H.; Bursztyn, M.; Rodrigues-Filho, S.; Nasuti, S.
Harvesting water for living with drought: Insights from the Brazilian human coexistence with semi-aridity approach towards achieving the sustainable development goals
published pages: , ISSN: 2071-1050, DOI:
Sustainability, 10 1 2020-02-24
2019 Martijn Koster, Alan Smart
Performing In/formality beyond the Dichotomy: An Introduction
published pages: 20-24, ISSN: 0003-5459, DOI: 10.3138/anth.2018-0013
Anthropologica 61/1 2020-02-24
2018 Patricia Wijntuin, Martijn Koster
Dutch-Moroccan Girls Navigating Public Space: Wandering as an Everyday Spatial Practice
published pages: 120633121879460, ISSN: 1206-3312, DOI: 10.1177/1206331218794603
Space and Culture 2020-02-24
2018 Da Silva, Sven De Vries, Pieter
Theorizing Slum Politics in Recife, Brazil: Community leaders symbolize the inconsistency of the urban situation.
published pages: , ISSN: , DOI:
Cities and Citizenship in Contemporary Latin America and the Caribbean, Conference proceedings NALACS Conference 16‐17 June 2016 2020-02-24
2018 Moore, Adam
Fire in El Oasis (documentary)
published pages: , ISSN: , DOI:
2019 Rivke Jaffe, Martijn Koster
The Myth of Formality in the Global North: Informality-as-Innovation in Dutch Governance
published pages: , ISSN: 0309-1317, DOI: 10.1111/1468-2427.12706
International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 2020-02-24
2018 Rocco, Roberto Da Silva, Sven
Cities and Citizenship in Contemporary Latin America and the Caribbean
published pages: , ISSN: , DOI:
Conference Proceedings NALACS 2016 2020-02-24

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The information about "BROKERS" are provided by the European Opendata Portal: CORDIS opendata.

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