The article aims to analyze the transformations of two Brazilian experiences of Participatory Budgeting (PB) following a political change of the governing majority in 2005. The main focus relates to the shrinking of the "potential for conflict" which is usually considered a pivotal element in the success of such a participatory tool. The essay is based on two well-known case studies - those of the metropolises of São Paulo and Porto Alegre - whose last political period has not been the object of many studies, unlike previous phases during which their Participatory Budgeting practices became a worldwide references. The article highlights the ways such institutional transformations (which modified PB in Porto Alegre, while suspending and substituting it in São Paulo) have been associated with the emergence of a new discourse on participation, more focused on a "partnership-driven" perspective. The results underline that the shrinking of "conflictive spaces" provided by the new participatory arenas is part of a wider significant shift in the relationship established with stakeholders and citizens at large. The shift involves the institutional design of the participatory processes as well as the degree of empowerment fostered by the two experiences.
Keywords: Conflict, Participation, Participatory Budgeting, Governance, Social Partnership