The aim of this chapter is to understand in what terms LEADER is a case of local democracy. To this end, three questions are addressed. First question is whether the March and Olsen (1989) integration/aggregation dichotomy is useful for interpreting the issue or would a triadic model be more appropriate. Second one is, if the concept of ‘local democracy’ is really broad enough to include also the material conditions (income, time, accessibility) of participation in the most important areas of public life. Third question is how the Italian case can help in the endeavour. The two first questions concern the framework of the topic, and the last question is the object of analysis. The reference to March and Olsen’s dichotomy is due to the international research project on LEADER that used it as its main theoretical basis (see other chapters in the volume). The question concerning broadness of participation relates to the debate on economic democracy. Italy fits well for researching these topics, because of its strong tradition of municipal action – that is a territorial level, which is very similar to the territorial concept of LEADER.
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