PLA 58: Towards empowered participation: stories and reflections
This issue of Participatory Learning and Action focuses on deliberative democracy and reviews successes and failures in citizen involvement programmes.
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Guest-editors: Tom Wakeford and Jasber Singh
This issue has a reflective focus and follows on from the 40th issue which focused on participatory methods and approaches that seek to enhance deliberative democracy and citizen empowerment.
It critically reflects on those rarely-discussed elements of processes that are disempowering to those with least power. ‘Citizen participation’ has typically elicited enthusiastic support from policy elites. However, past editions of PLA and numerous other studies have suggested that such initiatives have rarely impacted the mainstream political decision-making processes. Often referred to as “citizen engagement” or “public consultation”, these processes may in reality be little more than smokescreens behind which the systems of democratic accountability fought for by progressive social movements over many decades are allowed to decay.
The overall aim of the issue is to allow practitioners to reflect on some of these aspects of participation. By fostering a deeper understanding of participation we hope to promote improved policies and practices. We believe the articles call for an increased global solidarity among those committed to transforming the power of oppressed peoples via participation.
The issue is split into four sub-themes:
- Citizens' juries and similar participatory processes: strengths and weaknesses
- Participatory budgeting: lessons from Latin American and the UK
- Gender issues and challenges of representation
- Community activism from the grassroots
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Follow the links below to download the whole issue or individual articles in pdf format.
Towards empowered participation: stories and reflections
Tom Wakeford and Jasber Singh (guest editors)
Theme 1: Citizens' juries and similar participatory processes: strengths and weaknesses
The people’s vision: UK and Indian reflections on Prajateerpu
Kavitha Kuruganti, Michel Pimbert, and Tom Wakeford
The UK Nanojury as ‘upstream’ public engagement
Citizens’ juries in Burnley, UK: from deliberation to intervention
Elham Kashefi and Chris Keene
Community x-change: connecting citizens and scientists to policy makers
Nigel Eady, Jasber Singh, Alice Taylor-Gee, and Tom Wakeford
Hearing the real voices: exploring the experiences of the European Citizens’ Panel
Peter Bryant, Niall Fitzduff, Gwen Lanigan, and Catherine Purvis
- a. Ignoring and suppressing grassroots participation in a northern English town
Tom Wakeford , Bano Murtuja, and Peter Bryant
- b. The art of facipulation? The UK government’s nuclear power dialogue
Transcript of UK TV’s Channel 4 News, 19th September, 2007
- c. Genetically Modified Meetings: the Food Standards Agency’s citizens’ jury
Extract from a report from the Policy Ethics and Life Sciences (PEALS) Research Centre, Newcastle University , UK
- d. If we have time, motivation and resources to participate, does that mean we gain authority and power?
Right 2B Heard Collective and Swingbridge Video
Theme 2: Participatory budgeting: lessons from Latin America and the UK
Theme 3: Gender issues and challenges of representation
The Greater Involvement of People Living with HIV/AIDS: from principle to practice?
International Community of Women living with HIV/AIDS
Understanding local difference: gender (plus) matters for NGOs
Nazneen Kanji and Su Fei Tan
The ivory tower and beyond: Bradford University at the heart of its communities
Jenny Pearce, Martin Pearson, and Sam Cameron
Theme 4: Community activism from the grassroots
On the road to change: writing the history of technologies in Bolivia
Jeffery W. Bentley and Graham Thiele
Phila Implio! Live Life! Ways to healing for children in long-term hospital care
Louise Chawla and Jill Kruger
Tips for Trainers: Democracy Walls