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Abstract

After more than two decades of socialist government in 2012, Mónica Fein, the new mayor of the Argentine city of Rosario announced to "go for more," by newly offering the inclusion of poor young people into the Presupuesto Participativo Joven (PPJ). The program offers "true" participation dissociated from neoliberal features as experienced in the 1990's and a new subjectivity and political culture. The present work is on power and resistance in an institutionalized space of citizenship participation in a city that exposes an entrepreneurial, technical and conflict-evading spirit, often termed as 'post-politics' or 'post-democracy.' It discusses the PPJ as a new 'technology' of government within the Foucauldian concepts of 'governmentality', 'conduct' and 'counter- conduct' to illustrate, on one hand, how the implementation process generated discontent, distrust, and refusal in a context of messy politics, finally inhibiting its main objective to reach the poor young subjects. Therefore, these findings shed light on how democracy and conflict are being negotiated in one particular setting in the 'Global South' and expose participatory practices as a "contested effort," rather than an "imperative of our time" (Baiocchi and Ganuza 2016) imposed by "top-down" politics. On the other hand, this work shows in detail, how the program depoliticizes the young people by turning "problems" into "projects," by offering a citizenship I have termed 'encounter and projects citizenship,' that exhibits neoliberal features and which converts the young participants into corresponding 'subjects of projects,' who understand participation as a "helping" practice, rather than as an exercize of citizenship.

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