Conclusion: power, participation and political renewal

Marian Barnes, Janet Newman and Helen Sullivan

in Power, participation and political renewal

Published by Policy Press

Published in print February 2007 | ISBN: 9781861346681
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303053 | DOI:
Conclusion: power, participation and political renewal

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This conclusion discusses the transformatory potential of public participation, and its capacity to contribute to a process of political renewal. It argues that the aspirations highlighted may need to be tempered by an awareness of the institutional practices that constrain agency or produce a loss of trust. It emphasises the power of official discourses to define and delimit notions of ‘the public’ and of ‘legitimate participants’, and suggest ways in which such meanings are contested and negotiated. It examines how relationships and identities are shaped in the context of power inequalities, as well as the tensions present when those engaged in autonomous collective action are engaged in dialogue with public bodies. It also shows new insights into the dilemmas experienced by public service workers exposed to new encounters with the public. The case studies in this book highlight a set of issues and raises a series of questions that might productively be addressed in future policy and practice. It argues that public participation can help to equip people to become better at dialogue with others, enabling a greater understanding of different perspectives and a respect for others' positions.

Keywords: public participation; official discourses; dialogue; public service workers; political renewal; power

Chapter.  9527 words. 

Subjects: Social Movements and Social Change

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