The Porto Alegre Participatory Budgeting (PB) initiative is considered as one of the best practices of innovative local governance for its democratic effects in terms of administrative efficiency, economic redistribution and social capital. The relation between the state and the "participatory" civil society makes PB an interesting case for the theory of partnerships. However, it differs from them in many respects, thus providing new insights into the current debate and research agenda. The democratic and systemic nature of this all-civil society process seem to show a political and social paradigm shift which call into question the modern concept and form of the state, that of the third sector, as well as the sharp distinction between them all. PB seems to go beyond the idea of "partnership" between state and civil society, revealing instead a new kind of "civil" political sphere.
Keywords: Social Partnerships, Participatory Budgeting, State, Civil Society, Democracy