Take the City into Your Own Hands: the Outlines of Citizen Participation (2018-2019)

Lead partner: Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade

Durration: December 2018 – May 2019

Project coordinator: Irena Fiket

Team members: Irena Fiket, Balša Delibašić, Sara Nikolić


The project Take the City into Your Own Hands: the Outlines of Citizen Participation is designed to promote the principles of democracy, especially focusing on models of civic participation at the level of local communities. This project will be implemented within high schools in five cities in Serbia (Gornji Milanovac, Loznica, Zrenjanin, Sjenica and Zaječar) and will be implemented through a cycle of workshops led by a team of experts from the Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, who, in addition to academic affiliation and experience, have behind them years of practical and activistic experience on similar projects.

The cycle workshop on citizen participation consists of one sixty-minute and two ninety-minute segments in each of the aforementioned cities. Within the first workshop of the series, students will have the opportunity to get to know basic democratic principles, principles of civic participation and different forms of participation in decision-making processes that are enabled by the current normative framework. The next two workshops have an interactive character and move focus from a general to a locally-specific level. Within them, students will independently identify relevant problems related to their local communities, and then, in cooperation with lecturers, define appropriate models for their overcoming.

This project has an objective to distribute theoretical and practical knowledge of democracy, with a focus on the opportunities and significance of civic participation at the local level. Also, one of the main goals of the project is to reach young people in the areas where science clubs have not yet formed within the Center for the Promotion of Science, and to increase the level of political literacy among them. Finally, the aim of this project is to encourage and empower young people in these local communities to take active participation in solving the issues of relevance to the local community through democratic institutions, led by the knowledge and skills acquired within the project of the envisaged cycle of workshops.

The primary target group (high school students) was selected because of the extremely underdeveloped culture of civic participation at the level of local communities, which is especially noticeable among the younger population. This situation is due to both ignorance of legal opportunities and mistrust in institutions, as well as feelings of inadequacy for involvement in decision-making processes at the local level. By carrying out the project Take the City into Your Own Hands: the Outlines of Citizen Participation The Institute of Philosophy and Social Theory offers concrete and practical knowledge as a model for overcoming these difficulties. In the interest of the project, but also of the wider public, is to attract teachers and civil society representatives to the training, not only to partake in project activities, but also to continue teaching students some of the values and knowledge gained from the workshops through regular education and their personal engagement.

The project is supported by Center for Promotion of Science.

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