This chapter develops a theoretical critique of the notion of learning through participation. Those following Habermas’s theory of deliberative democracy suggest that affected populations need to engage in fair and competent discourse in order to deliberate and learn. Bringing rationality to discourse will help the better argument to win. However, while a lot of participation at first sight looks empowering, those who participate are subjected to power relations, as Foucault tells us; they become subjects of advanced liberal power. Rancière and Kulynych suggest that meaningful political action in the age of disciplinary societies actually takes the form of resistance rather than cooperation. Only by disrupting dominant discourses will we be able to create new practices and new discourses. This means that we need to pay a lot more attention to unconventional forms and unconventional sites of participation and learning, namely those that performatively enact new realities.
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