This article takes, as a starting point, shifts in development discourse over the last few decades that have led to the emergence of new spaces for public involvement. Different constructions of participation have implications for who participates and on what basis, and what their participation actually involves in practice. Different spaces for public involvement emerged in different places at different times, contributing to the complex muddle of institutional forms, meanings and practices that now characterises participation in development. This article argues for taking a closer look at these spaces - at how and why they were created, and at the dynamics of participation within them. The author concludes that such an analysis can offer insights that can help to develop strategies for strengthening the practice of citizenship and democracy.
IDS Bulletin - Vol 33 No 2, 49-58 [DOI: 10.1111/j.1759-5436.2002.tb00016.x]