Power, participation and political renewal: issues from a study of public participation in two English cities.
This article describes and discusses the findings of recent research into public participation in two contrasting English cities in order to reflect on the capacity of new opportunities for participation to contribute to democratic renewal. Our research revealed the rich diversity of sites and practices within the field of public participation. By exploring participation from the perspectives of both citizens and officials, and studying the process of deliberation, we highlighted participation as a dynamic and interactive process and generated insights into: the ways in which notions of \"the public\" are constructed, how competing claims to legitimacy are negotiated, how questions of difference and diversity are managed in both the establishment of formal access rules and in the interactions within forums themselves, the interaction between representative and participative democracy in the public policy field, and how the tensions between representative and participative democracy are reconciled - or not - within forums themselves.
IDS Bulletin - Vol 35 No 2, p. 58-66 [DOI: 10.1111/j.1759-5436.2004.tb00122.x]