Local participatory governance was defined as government-sponsored direct participation between invited citizens and between citizens and local officials in concrete arrangements and concerning problems that affect them. The chapter develops a tentative account of how some fundamental political institutions of local government and social structures may generate different incentives and opportunities for participation and participative reforms among different types of actors. It suggests that the more legitimate representative institutions are the more difficult to institutionalize participatory governance. The chapter presents some arguments concerning the prospects for institutionalization and long-term success of such participatory governance relations found in the literature. It describes contextual differences between France, the Netherlands, and Sweden based on these theoretical arguments. The chapter focuses on tenuous relations between representative democracy and local participatory seems productive in understanding why. However, since the beginning of the 1980s, several waves of decentralization reforms have been implemented and participatory governance agenda has been launched.