Academic journal article Journal of Comparative Politics

Political Economy and Public Policy of Marginalization: Alternative Development, Multilevel Planning and Disadvantaged Communities in Slovenia and Canada

Academic journal article Journal of Comparative Politics

Political Economy and Public Policy of Marginalization: Alternative Development, Multilevel Planning and Disadvantaged Communities in Slovenia and Canada

Article excerpt

Are alternative development models relevant in the context of revitalization of disadvantaged communities without the visible role of the state in building development strategies? In some reasonable conditions, the state has to carry out specific tasks which would guarantee marginalized communities to become a relevant partner in creating and establishing participatory development approaches. In many developed countries the inclusion schema is usually established but power relations are not reconstructed properly in a sense of a more fair cooperation between the state and disadvantaged communities. The main goal of the present paper is to problematise development policies according to marginalized communities in Slovenia and Canada and to show which development principles from Canadian socio-economic praxis are revenant for Slovenian reality.


We are aware that simple causal model of alternative development is too rigid when trying to picture a complex reality of development strategies. Contemporary approaches to development in marginalized communities are multidisciplinar/ in their nature and planned as multilevel strategies of development. Regarding theoretical approaches, scholars adapt theories, for example, from international political economy to theories of micro business to explain various themes concerning development in disadvantaged communities. Due to this reason we will use the original Sundaram's2 approach of multilevel planning and adapt it to development reality in Slovenia and Canada. The main issue concerning multilevel planning is to show different possible approaches regarding alternative development: topdown planning, planning from bellow and planning from within. For Sundaram,3 the issue of decentralization is of fundamental importance in relation to multilevel planning.

Our focus is to warn that problem of poverty is of acute nature also in developed countries as they are Slovenia and Canada. The latter has far more developed social economy approaches which will be an important issue in this paper. Two marginalized groups are included in comparison: Aboriginal peoples of Canada and Roma community in Slovenia. Even they do not share a lot of common characteristics, the problem of continuing marginalization is evident in both cases.

We will try to explain and investigate the marginalization phenomenon and possible solutions in two ways: through a political economy approach and public policy analysis. More concretely, we are interested how policy changes and participation of individuals (living in disadvantaged communities) in development policies create development opportunities for them. What is more, research interest is also given to the role of the state in development policies and what is probably missing in defining its role in preventing marginalization.

Finally, two different development approaches are included in comparison: Community Economic Development approach widely used in Canada and the Government of Slovenia's National Program of Measures concerning Roma Communities within the Period 2010-2015 as a core strategy for future development of Roma in Slovenia. In fact, the first one is the alternative model of economic development in communities (often called the initiative) which is partially independent from the state. The second example is a governmental strategy designed as top-down model of development.


Conventional distinction which assumes and determines the role of the state in planning activities presupposes top-down4 and bottom up5 approaches as the most reliable. In some sense, this linear mode of thinking is maybe too simplistic for understanding a chaotic reality in the process of development activities. Sundaram6 besides the conventional view offers a third possibility which he calls a "development from within" saying that this is a model of development with a "capillary effect". …

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