Control or influence? Conflict or solidarity? : understanding diversity in preferences for public participation in social policy decision making

  • Participatory policy making is a contested concept that can be understood in multiple ways. So how do those involved with participatory initiatives make sense of contrasting ideas of participation? What purposes and values do they associate with participatory governance? This paper reflects on a Q‐method study with a range of actors, from citizen activists to senior civil servants, involved with participatory initiatives in U.K. social policy. Using principal components analysis, supplemented with data from qualitative interviews, it identifies three shared participation preferences: participation as collective decision making, participation as knowledge transfer, and participation as agonism. These preferences demonstrate significant disagreements between the key informants, particularly concerning the objectives of participation, how much power should be afforded to the public, and what motivates people to participate. Their contrasting normative orientations are used to highlight how participatory governance theory and practice frequently fails to take seriously legitimate diversity in procedural preferences. Moreover, it is argued that, despite the diversity of preferences, there is a lack of imagination about how participation can function when social relations are conflictual.

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Author:Rikki John Dean
Parent Title (English):Social policy and administration
Place of publication:Oxford [u.a.]
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2018/10/03
Date of first Publication:2018/10/03
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2021/02/17
Tag:Q‐method; citizen engagement; democratic innovation; discursive institutionalism; procedural preferences; public participation
Page Number:18
First Page:170
Last Page:187
Funding information
ESRC, Grant/Award Number: n/a PhD project
Postprint, zuerst erschienen in, Social policy and administration 53.2019; S. 170– 187, doi:10.1111/spol.12445
Dewey Decimal Classification:3 Sozialwissenschaften / 32 Politikwissenschaft / 320 Politikwissenschaft
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht