Experiences in “Letting the Public in”: Tentative Conclusions on the Administration-Public Tango for Co-Responsible Local Governance


Governance and citizenship issues are more complex, and communities recognize the need for a new approach to mobilization, participation in creation and welfare, and a joint responsibility for the implementation of public life management principles. The paper proposes a view of Romania’s struggles to work from the bottom up by experimenting with various European models in a common framework of local administration to encourage citizen participation. After initial enthusiasm for a process led by the Council of Europe aimed at creating co-responsibility areas, administrative practices showed that local governments refused to grant the prerogative of leading public policies and distributing budgets. The model of co-responsibility aims to restore participatory democracy, ensure sustainable development, and reconfigure relations between social actors such as governments, enterprises, civil society, families, and individuals. However, progress has been slow, and as the example described in Timișoara, Romania’s largest western city, shows, it has still a long way to go before the implementation of participatory governance, for example, in the form of budget allocations, is appreciated positively by the local population. This paper is based on participatory observations, media monitoring, and the study of key actors involved in promoting co-participatory processing at the local level.

Author Biography

Mariana Cernicova-Buca, Politehnica University of Timișoara, Timișoara, Romania

Mariana Cernicova-Buca is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Communication Sciences, Politehnica University of Timișoara, Romania, founding member of the Interdisciplinary Research Center for Communication and Sustainability (PoliCom), recurrent Chair of the scientific committee of the Professional Communication and Translation Studies (PCTS) conference and co-editor of PCTS proceedings.  She has authored about 200 articles, book chapters, and books. She developed the descriptors for the qualifications in journalism within the National Qualifications Framework in Romania (2009–2011). Her primary research interests include social policy, youth studies, transition of society in post-communist countries, higher education, and sustainability. Her recent publications include the following: Cernicova-Buca, M. (coauthored). Students’ Awareness Regarding Environment Protection in Campus Life: Evidence from Romania (2023); Cernicova-Buca, M. (coauthored). Students’ Awareness of the Local Cultural and Historical Heritage in Post-Communist Regional Centers: Yekaterinburg, Gyumri, Timisoara (2022).

How to Cite
Cernicova-Buca, M. (2024). Experiences in “Letting the Public in”: Tentative Conclusions on the Administration-Public Tango for Co-Responsible Local Governance. Changing Societies & Personalities, 8(1), 128–144. doi:10.15826/csp.2024.8.1.267