This is the introduction to a book that brings together case studies that examine the democratic potential of a diversity of participatory sphere institutions: hospital facility boards in South Africa; a national-level deliberative process in Canada; participatory policy councils and community groups in Brazil, India, Mexico and Bangladesh; participatory budgeting in Argentina; NGO-created participatory fora in Angola and Bangladesh; community fora in the UK; and new intermediary spaces created by social movements in South Africa. Contributors take up the promises offered by advocates of participation - whether enhanced efficiency and effectiveness of public policy, 'deeper' democracy or a more engaged citizenry - and explore them in a diversity of social, cultural and political contexts.
A. Cornwall and V. S. P. Coelho. Introduction: Spaces for change? The politics of participation in new democratic arenas. In: Spaces For Change? The Politics of Citizen Participation in New Democratic Arenas. Zed Books, London, (2007) 1-29. ISBN 9781842775523