From the “democratic crisis” to the “participatory democracy”: the new Italian “public debate” and the French “débat public” as an inspiring model.

In this paper I identify, in the tools of participatory democracy, a suitable solution for the resolution of administrative conflicts, in systems characterized by a strong crisis in the political-electoral circuit and, in general, by the lack of trust in democratic institutions which are no longer adequate to solve the challenges of modernity. Therefore, the traditional procedural instruments of weighting among the interests are no longer adequate, especially in environmental matters, where the evaluations entrusted to the P.A. are not eligible as neutral instruments, but determine relationships characterized by the information asymmetry. In such a context the key word is participatory democracy, as evidenced by the international and EU guidelines. France has been a pioneer in participatory matters; Italy, on the other hand, is a country with a weak participatory culture. I will analyze the flaws of the new Italian-style public debate by comparing it with the French model.