Power, Participation and Political Renewal: Case Studies in Public Participation

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Public participation is central to a wide range of current public policies - not only in the UK, but elsewhere in the developed and the developing world. There are substantial aspirations for what enhanced participation can achieve. This book offers a critical examination of both the discourse and practice of participation in order to understand the significance of this explosion in participatory forums, and the extent to which such practices represent a fundamental change in governance. Based on 17 case studies across a range of policy areas in two English cities, the authors address key issues such as: the way in which notions of the public are constructed; the motivation of participants; how the interests and identities of officials and citizens are negotiated within forums; and the ways in which institutions enable and constrain the development of participation initiatives. Much of the literature on public participation is highly normative. This book draws from detailed empirical work, theories of governance, of deliberative democracy and social movements to offer a nuanced account of the dynamics of participation and to suggest why experiences of this can be frustrating as well as transformative. This book will be essential reading for students of public and social policy and offers important insights for those directly engaged in developing participation initiatives across the public sector

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three Inclusive democracy and social movements
public bodies and their publics
five Reforming services
six Neighbourhood and community governance
seven Responding to a differentiated public
eight Issues and expertise
power participation and political renewal

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About the author (2007)

Marian Barnes, School of Applied Social Sciences, University of Brighton, Janet Newman, Department of Social Policy, The Open University and Helen Sullivan, Cities Research Centre, Faculty of the Built Environment, University of the West of England

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