This article presents a reflective analysis of a participatory action research between the authors’ institution and the Community Development Directorate of Santiago Municipality. This work generated organizational change for implementing new citizen participation policies through a collective reflection about ambiguous roles and organizational paradoxes that allowed to harness the creative potential of emotions and embodied knowledge of public officers. Through workshops of organizational role analysis, a communicative space was built to contain the organizational contradictions generated by the lack of definitions of fieldwork agents’ roles and the insufficient institutional support. This led to implement a new approach for citizen participation, with an unprecedented inter-sectoral structure within this municipality. However, in the absence of structural incentives for internal cooperation, this development was abandoned by the authorities at the onset of an unsuccessful re-election campaign. Nevertheless, these temporary achievements show the usefulness of socio-analytic methods for transforming organizations in rigid institutional frameworks. This experience was a first attempt to provide institutional support for inter-sectoral citizen participation policies in Santiago, suggesting ways to generate and sustain long-term changes that are sorely needed in Chilean institutions.
Como citar: Sanfuentes, M., & Garreton, M. (2018). Renegotiating roles in local governments: Facing resistances to citizen participation in Chile. Action Research, https://doi.org/10.1177/1476750318801470