Using the concept of space as a lens through which to view practices of participation, this paper seeks to explore issues of power and difference in the making and shaping of spaces for participation in development. It examines the emergence of different kinds of space for participation in development, highlighting salient tracks and traces in previous times and their imprint on contempory practice. It goes on to explore the dynamics and dimensions of participation in institutionalised and non-institutionalised spaces, both those of invited participation and more organically created spaces, made and shaped by people for themselves. The paper concludes that supporting the realisation of inclusive, active citizenship calls for a greater understanding of the micro-politics of participation as a situated practice. This, in turn, calls for approaches that locate spaces for participation in the places in which they occur, framing their possibilities with reference to actual political, social, cultural and historical particularities.
A Spanish translation of this paper is available here.
IDS Working Paper 170, Sussex, UK; IDS, ISBN 1-85864-472-0, 43 pp.