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Seminar Series: Mobilizing for Diversity: The Case of Participatory Budgeting

May 3 — 12:30 pm to 1:45 pm

Profile photo of Denia Garcia.

Denia Garcia is an Assistant Professor of Public Affairs at UW–Madison’s La Follette School of Public Affairs. Garcia’s work examines the role of space and organizations in shaping how inequalities are experienced and reproduced. She is writing a book about community and belonging in a diverse neighborhood based on in-depth fieldwork in a Chicago neighborhood.

Garcia’s talk is titled, “Mobilizing for Diversity: The Case of Participatory Budgeting.” The talk addresses the question of how to make organizations more diverse and inclusive based on more than three years of fieldwork with one participatory budgeting organization in Chicago’s 49th ward. Participatory budgeting is a democratic experiment and a tool for good governance. Through public assemblies and voting, residents decide how to spend one million dollars of the ward’s budget for capital improvements. Community participation is necessary for participatory budgeting to work as intended and to live up to its democratic potential. However, socioeconomic inequality and political distrust pose challenges to participation. How, and why, did the organization, Participatory Budgeting in the 49th Ward, implement an initiative to make the process more diverse and inclusive? And what was the impact of this initiative on community engagement? Ultimately, the talk uses this case to demonstrate the potential and limitations of diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.

The La Follette School Seminar Series engages participants in discussion of a range of public policy issues and showcases the research of faculty from the La Follette School, other UW–Madison departments, and outside the UW–Madison community. Faculty, students, and visitors take part in lively dialogue about topics such as poverty and welfare, health, education, international affairs, trade and finance, and the environment. For more information, email Professor Tim Smeeding.


May 3
12:30 pm to 1:45 pm
Event Category:


La Follette School of Public Affairs
View Organizer Website


Ways to attend:
In-person only


Sterling Hall, conference room 1328
475 N Charter St
Madison, Wisconsin 53706
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