Fighting Inequality Through Capability Oriented Policy
Edited by Hans-Uwe Otto, Valerie Egdell, Jean-Michel Bonvin and Roland Atzmüller
Chapter 11: Full participation matters? A subject orientated approach to participation from a capability perspective
Participation seems to be a constitutive characteristic of democratic societies and welfare regimes. Nevertheless, in its predominant language use, this concept focuses more on the articulation of interests and the formal involvement of citizens in political decision-making processes, and much less on the equal access to (political) power, social rights, common goods and the freedom to choose. While the prevalent definitions of participation are classifying types and degrees of participation into different levels (that is, the ladder of participation) and thus falling back into the less helpful differentiation of participation and non-participation, it seems to be useful to adapt a persistent subject orientated – but not individualistic – approach to participation. As such this chapter develops a broad concept of participation, which goes far beyond the normal understanding of involvement (‘being engaged’) in acknowledging the democratic dimension (‘having a say’) as well as the material dimension (‘having a stake’). Finally, these dimensions are specified for processes and outcomes of participatory research called the 3Cs: creation, confrontation, constitution.
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