‘Participation’ in recent decades has commanded at the same time widespread acceptance and determined critique. While it has been applied to a range of different spheres since the middle of the 20th century, it has been prominent particularly in political theory and international development. Strangely, despite substantial literature and practical experiences in both, until recently there had been little dialogue between the two, leading to an impoverishment of perspectives on both sides. Some commentators have aimed to bridge this gap and respond to the critique of the isolation of local participation from broader power structures. Gaventa (2004), for example, has shown how community participation needs to be seen in conjunction with reforms to national governance, addressing simultaneously the strengthening of citizen participation and voice, and the accountability and responsiveness of government.
McCowan, T. Transforming community participation. (2012) 3 pp.