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Participation is not enough: an argument for emancipation as a foundation of participatory theorising

Wojciechowska, Marta (2019) Participation is not enough: an argument for emancipation as a foundation of participatory theorising. Representation. ISSN 0034-4893

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Identification Number: 10.1080/00344893.2019.1704849


Contemporary participatory theory remains in a problematic disconnect from political practice. This disconnect is often a source of criticism and leads to accusations of the idealistic nature of participatory theory. In this article, I argue that the reasons for this disconnect lie in the theoretical tools used by participatory theorists. While the theory relies on an assumption of the educational effects of political participation and the possibility of societal transformation, the core concepts of the theory do not enable the identification of potential obstacles for such transformation. Consequently, this article argues for incorporating a previously overlooked concept and an ideal of political emancipation into the core of participatory theorising. By incorporating political emancipation into its vocabulary, participatory theory can successfully address the disconnect from political practice and provide guidance in establishing improved political arrangements.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2019 McDougall Trust, London
Divisions: Government
Subjects: J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
J Political Science > JC Political theory
Date Deposited: 14 Jan 2020 13:51
Last Modified: 29 May 2020 23:12

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