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Understanding Public Participation

Understanding Public Participation

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Published by: Daisy on Dec 19, 2009
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Understanding Participation 
S.RengasamyMadurai Institute of Social Sciences
S.Rengasamy - Understanding Participation
People are like
numerals “1”[one] and the
government is like
 “0”[zero]. The value of zeroes placed after “1” [one] increases butzeroes without numerical “1” have no value
Citizen Participation / Community Participation 
Participation/Public Participation  Popular Participation /
Citizen’s Involvement
 Co intelligence /Co creation
Stakeholder’s Participation
Whatever is the form of government[monarchy, oligarchy], they want to continue as rulers
 by attending citizen‟s needs;
but in democracy, citizen administrators relationship aresignificant because the support and consent of the governed is a pre-requisite for thesustenance of a representative government.An emphasis on participation has links with the interest in democracy in communityorganization and in self-help and political incorporation in the community development tradition.But what is community participation?Influenced by the political debates of the late 1960s more radical approaches to communitywork became influential. 'Instead of seeking to help deprived communities toimprove their social and environmentalcircumstances, the new community work activists urged that people take directpolitical action to demand changes and improvements'. Saul Alinsky was especially influential.He had a history of mobilizing and organizing grass roots campaigns and he caught manypeople's imaginations through his evident commitment and experience, and his ability toarticulate his thoughts in catchy phrases
 As an organizer I start from where the world is, as it is,not as I would like it to be The real action is in theenemy's reaction. The enemy properly goaded andguided in his reaction will be your major strength-
Saul Alinsky
Citizen Participation
Concept, Meaning & Definition-Participatory Behavior / Forms of Participation-Types of Participation
 Classification Principle
Jules Pretty - Arnstein,Sherry R -Elements of Participation-Reasons in favor of Community Participation-Community Outcomes-Conditions of Citizen Participation-Benefits and Cost of ParticipationNational Leaders
Planners & Administrators
 Local Elites & Individual Citizens
 -Why participation Fails?-Measuring Participation A. Participation in local community B. Proactivityin a social context C. Feelings of Trust and SafetyD. Neighborhood ConnectionsE. Family and Friends Connections F. Toleranceof Diversity G. Value of Life H. Work Connections
S.Rengasamy - Understanding Participation
In the late 1960s there was a series of debates around 'participation'. While'participation' may be a vague term itsadvocates often rely on two keyarguments about its value. It makes for justice in decision-making - people havesome say in, and influence on, collectivedecisions. has an educative value.Through participation people learn.These interests became formalized in anumber of United Nations reportsincluding
Popular Participation inDevelopment
(1971) and
PopularParticipation in Decision Making
forDevelopment (1975).According to Midgley, the notion of popular participation and that of community participation are interlinked.The former is concerned with broad issuesof social development and the creation of opportunities for the involvement of people in the political, economic andsocial life of a nation, 'the latter connotesthe direct involvement of ordinary peoplein local affairs'.One United Nations document defined community participation as: The creation of opportunities to enable all members of a community to actively contribute to and influence thedevelopment process and to share equitably in the fruits of development.This is a very general definition of participation and raises as many questions as it answers.
Participation is a rich concept that varies with itsapplication and definition. The way participation isdefi ned also depends on the context in which itoccurs. For some, it is a matter of principle; forothers, practice; for still others, an end in itself (World Bank, 1995). Indeed, there is merit in allthese interpretations.Participation is a stereotype word like children useLego pieces. Like Lego pieces the words fi tarbitrarily together and support the most fancifulconstructions. They have no content, but do serve afunction. As these words are separate from anycontext, they are ideal for manipulative purposes.
 „Participation‟ belongs to this category of word.
 Often the term participation is modified withadjectives, resulting in terms such as
community participation, citizen participation, people 
participation, public participation,
popular participation 
. The Oxford English Dictionary defines
participation as “to have a share in” or “to take partin,” thereby emphasizing the rights of individuals
and the choices that they make in order toparticipate. Arnstein (1969) states that the idea of citizen participation is a little like eating spinach: noone is against it in principle because it is good foryou. But there has been little analysis of the contentof citizen participation, its definition, and itsrelationship to social imperatives such as socialstructure, social interaction, and the social contextwhere it takes place.

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