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Work Programme

Centre for Latin American Studies at the University of Aarhus, LACUA


Citizenships Empowerment Process and referendums experiences in Nordic Countries: Looking for cases to compare the Latin-American reality


Work Programme

Candidate Profile’s

Jose Guillermo García Chourio. Venezuelan. Researcher at Instituto Zuliano de Estudios Políticos, Económicos y Sociales Sociológicos (IZEPES-Escuela de Gobierno del Zulia-Venezuela). Nowadays he realizes one project of investigation about the referendum and recalls in Venezuela as social accountability mechanisms.

General Foreword

Overcome the worries for the democratic consolidation, one of the principal challenges of Latin American current governments consist in the achievement of quality levels of democracy. For that matter, it goes through a development of the State Institutions and bureaucratic rules that simultaneously allows efficiency and responsibility in the Public Affairs management. This mission supposes the election of an orientation administrative reform, where the debate is centred between the way of the New Public Management and the choice of the Deliberative Administration.

According to this purpose, it is demonstrated that the administrative modernization, regardless of its direction and aims, depends largely on minimum agreements reached among the actors involved in the transformation process. This fact implies recognition of politics in the task of institutional change of the State. Any institutional reform of the State is subject to political and economic dynamics that can impede the advance of the changes and in some circumstances supposing a setback in the results achieved up to this moment.

From the processes of political reform of the Third Democratic Wave, there were incorporated the figures of referendum, legislative popular initiative and of the recall in the municipal legislations of the Latin-American countries. In this respect, is very important analyze the role that as mechanisms of citizen participation in the management of the local governments there have the direct democracy institutions that have been formally established to municipal level in one country as Venezuela.


Academic Objectives

The empirical information’s interchange about experiences of Democracy Direct Mechanisms is basic reason to make during the academic year 2008-2009 staying training and research of four months at the Centre for Latin American Studies at the University of Aarhus, LACUA. This stay of training and research will allow me the acquisition of new knowledge on experiences of referendum, especially in Nordic Countries, so that it allows extending the range of cases for the compared study.

To scientific level, this research project also has the intention of identifying the process of change from model of New Public Management towards a model of Deliberative Administration in countries as Denmark.

Another aim of this study is to make an analysis about the process of creation of the Institutional Frame of the State System, to generate routines of accountability which allows corrupt behaviour limitations.

Central Hypothesis  

After the last democratic reform of the 20th century, the political decentralization continues being alone basic electoral procedures in all spheres of Venezuela, which combined with traditional ways of managing the politics, continues restricting the possibilities of the citizenship in the management of your governments. But beyond it, in this article are deduced hypothetically by base in the theory of the political opportunities, some of the principal institutional transformations, which realize of this environment of possibilities for the citizen participation that offers the local sphere as space renewed of political power.

The incorporation of the legislative popular initiative, the recall and the referendum in the national and municipal legislations of Venezuela are samples of changes of access to the political system. These institutions can offer new routes in order that the citizenship to express your interests and needs to politicians.

Specific Actions


Propedeutics Phase (Preliminary instruction about juridical and institutional aspects of Danish society)


  • Participation as Visitor Researcher to Seminaries of licentiate and post degree in Social Sciences on the subject matter (Term: 2 weeks)
  • Reading of texts and preparation of analytical reports on the topics treated in the seminaries (Term: 2 weeks)


Theoretic Phase of Investigation (Term: 4 weeks)



  • Bibliographical search’s and review of literature on the topic (Term: 2 weeks)
  • Writing of technical report of advance on the theoretical foundations of the research (Term: 2 weeks)

Methodological Phase (Term: 4 weeks)



  • Creation of hypothesis system of the investigation (Term: 2 weeks)
  • Election of cases with possibilities of comparison (Term: 1 week)
  • Definition of units of analysis and of observation (Term:  1 week)


Empirical Phase (Term: 4 weeks)



  • Collecting and recording of documentary information on cases of referendum (Term: 1 week).
  • Analysis of social and political conditions to generation of referendums (Term: 1 week).
  • Writing of final report of investigation (Term: 1 week).
  • Preparation and presentation of some preliminary conclusions to the researchers of the Centre for Latin American Studies (Term: 1 week).

Term of the Research Stay: 4 months, (November 1, 2008 - February 28, 2009) 

Hans Lauge Hansen, PhD.

Head of the Centre for Latin American Studies at the University of Aarhus (LACUA)