Georgios Despotidis

Re-establishing the relationship between citizens and local politicians in Greece through citizen participation

INLOGOV Blog: Re-establishing the relationship between citizens and politicians in Greece (15 July 2013)

Lead supervisor: Dr Catherine Durose, Second supervisor: Dr Stephen Jeffares.

Greece is undergoing a major change in its public sector in order to reduce its debt. The Greek government is taking measures to shrink its public sector and reduce its expenditure but also measures to increase its income. Most of these measures have a negative effect on citizens’ life and thus the relationship between citizens and politicians has collapsed but maybe it was the corrupted way citizens and politicians interacted in the first place that brought Greece to this point where a huge debt has been created and drastic measures need to be taken. Whilst Greece should decrease its expenditure and increase its income and find the appropriate ways to achieve this goal, research should also focus on the relationship between citizens and politicians that is Greece’s deeper problem.

The central hypothesis of my research is that participatory mechanisms at a local level where both citizens and local politicians are present can affect the relationship between citizens and politicians. Even though a few studies have shown that citizens’ trust and confidence in government is influenced by participation there is little empirical inquiry into whether participation in decision making have the assumed laudatory impacts on trust and confidence in government. This study will address this gap through an interpretive approach that focus on whether citizen participation can affect citizens’ perceptions over local politicians but also on its impact on local politicians’ perceptions over citizens that seems to be lacking of research. This gap is also important to be filled when looking at this relationship because politicians often think their knowledge to be superior to that of other people but it might be that trough participation this can change.

Profile

I came to INLOGOV in 2011 for my MSc after completing a 4 year BSc in Greece. During my MSc I realized my interest in research and stayed in INLOGOV for my PhD.

My current research focuses on citizen participation and specifically whether it can have an effect on the relationship between citizens and local politicians in Greece.

Qualifications

  • BSc Local Government (Kalamata, Greece)
  • MSc Public Management (Local Government) (Birmingham, UK) 

Research interests

  • Citizen Participation
  • Participatory Democracy
  • Citizen involvement in policy-making, and decision-making processes