Citizen Participation or Public Participation in
social science Social science is the branch A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist o ...

social science
refers to different mechanisms for the public to express opinions—and ideally exert influence—regarding political, economic, management or other social decisions. Participatory decision-making can take place along any realm of human social activity, including
economic An economy (; ) is an area of the production Production may be: Economics and business * Production (economics) * Production, the act of manufacturing goods * Production, in the outline of industrial organization, the act of making products ( ...

(i.e. participatory economics),
political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions In psychology, decision-making (also spelled decision making and decisionmaking) is regarded as the Cognition, cognitive process resulting in the selection ...

participatory democracy Participatory democracy or participative democracy is a model of democracy in which citizens are provided power to make political decisions. Etymological roots of ''democracy'' (Greek ''wikt:demos, demos'' and ''wikt:κράτος, kratos'') imply t ...
or parpolity),
management Management (or managing) is the administration of an organization An organization, or organisation (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English; American and British English spelling differences#-ise, -ize (-isation, -iz ...

participatory managementParticipatory management is the practice of empowerment, empowering members of a group, such as employees of a company or citizens of a community, to participate in organizational decision making. It is used as an alternative to traditional vertical ...
cultural Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior Social behavior is behavior among two or more organisms within the same species, and encompasses any behavior in which one member affects the other. This is due to an int ...

polyculturalism Polyculturalism is an ideological approach to the consequences of intercultural engagements within a geographical area which emphasises similarities between, and the enduring interconnectedness of, groups which self-identify as distinct, thus blurr ...
) or
feminism Feminism is a range of s and that aim to define and establish the political, economic, personal, and social . Feminism incorporates the position that societies prioritize the male point of view, and that women are treated unjustly within ...

). For well-informed participation to occur, it is argued that some version of
transparency Transparency, transparence or transparent most often refer to transparency and translucency, the physical property of allowing the transmission of light through a material. They may also refer to: Literal uses * Transparency (photography), a sti ...
, e.g.
radical transparency Radical transparency is a phrase used across fields of governance, politics, software design and business to describe actions and approaches that radically increase the openness of organizational process and data. Its usage was originally understoo ...
, is necessary but not sufficient. It has also been argued that those most affected by a decision should have the most say while those that are least affected should have the least say in a topic.

Classifying participation

Sherry Arnstein discusses eight types of participation in ''A Ladder of Citizen Participation'' (1969). Often termed as "''Arnstein's ladder of citizen participation ''", these are broadly categorized as: * Citizen Power: Citizen Control, Delegated Power, Partnership. *
Tokenism Tokenism is the practice of making only a perfunctory or symbolic effort to be inclusive to members of minority group A minority group, by its original definition, refers to a group of people whose practices, race, religion, ethnicity, or other ...
: Placation, Consultation, Informing. * Non-participation: Therapy, Manipulation. She defines citizen participation as the redistribution of power that enables the have-not citizens, presently excluded from the political and economic processes, to be deliberately included in the future. Robert Silverman expanded on Arnstein's ladder of citizen participation with the introduction of his "citizen participation continuum." In this extension to Arstein's work he takes the groups that drive participation into consideration and the forms of participation they pursue. Consequently, Silverman's continuum distinguishes between grassroots participation and instrumental participation. Archon Fung presents another classification of participation based on three key questions: Who is allowed to participate, and are they representative of the population? What is the method of communication or decision-making? And how much influence or authority is granted to the participation? Other "''ladders''" of participation have been presented by D.M. Connor, Wiedemann and Femers, A. Dorcey et al., Jules N. Pretty and E.M. Rocha. The International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) has developed a 'spectrum of public participation' based on five levels: information, consultation, involvement, collaboration and empowerment.

Specific participation activities

Town hall meeting Town hall meetings, also referred to as town halls or town hall forums, an expression that originates mainly from North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identifie ...
Advisory committee ''Advisory Committee'' is Mirah's second full-length album. It was released on K Records on March 19, 2002, and produced by both Mirah and Phil Elvrum. Production ''Advisory Committee'' was recorded over a one-year period, starting on September 17 ...

Advisory committee
Citizens' assembly A citizens' assembly (also known as citizens' jury or citizens' panel or people's jury or policy jury or citizens' initiative review or consensus conference or citizens' convention) is a body formed from randomly selected citizen Citizenshi ...
Opinion poll An opinion poll, often simply referred to as a poll or a survey, is a survey (human research), human research survey of public opinion from a particular sampling (statistics), sample. Opinion polls are usually designed to represent the opinions o ...
Participatory design Participatory design (originally co-operative design, now often co-design) is an approach to design attempting to actively involve all stakeholders (e.g. employees, partners, customers, citizens, end users) in the design process to help ensure th ...
Participatory budgeting Participatory budgeting (PB) is a process of democratic deliberation and decision-making, in which ordinary people decide how to allocate part of a municipal A municipality is usually a single administrative division Administrative divi ...

Participatory budgeting
Referendum A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a direct Direct may refer to: Mathematics * Directed set In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number th ...

Protest File:Demonstration in front of the headquarters of the Spanish National Police in Barcelona.png, Demonstration in front of the headquarters of the Spanish National Police in Barcelona during the 2017 Catalan general strike against 2017 Ca ...

Vote Voting is a method for a group, such as a meeting or an Constituency, electorate, in order to make a collective decision making, decision or express an opinion usually following discussions, debates or election campaigns. Democracy, Democracie ...


Corporate participation

Participation in the corporate sector has been studied as a way to improve business related processes starting from productivity to employee satisfaction.

Cross cultural objective participation

A cultural variation of participation can be seen through the actions of '' Indigenous American Cultures''. Participation draws from two aspects: respect and commitment to their community and family. The respect is seen through their participation in non-obligated participation in various aspects of their lives, ranging from housework to fieldwork. Often the participation in these communities is a social interaction occurring as a progression for the community, rather than that of the individual. Participation in these communities can serve as a " learning service". This learning ranges from everyday activities, in which community members gain a new skill to complete a task or participate through social events to keep their cultural practices alive. These social participation events allow newer generations to see the events and learn from this ongoing participation to continue these practices. Although there are different domains and objectives of participation in these communities, the bottom line to this participation is that it is non obligated and often community orientated. A social interaction that continues to thrive because of this high level of non-obligation is the everyday action of ''

Objectives of participation

Participation activities may be motivated from an administrative perspective or a citizen perspective on a governmental, corporate or social level. From the administrative viewpoint, participation can build public support for activities. It can educate the public about an agency's activities. It can also facilitate useful information exchange regarding local conditions. Furthermore, participation is often legally mandated. From the citizen viewpoint, participation enables individuals and groups to influence agency decisions in a representational manner. The different types of political participation depends on the motivation. When a group is determined to work to solve a community problem, there can be led marches to work for candidates. Most immigrant racial groups have higher motivation since there is an increase in geographical dispersion and are faster growing racial groups. How well participation can influence the relation between citizen and their local government, how it increases trust and boosts peoples willingness to participate Giovanni Allegretti explains in an interview using the example of
participatory budgeting Participatory budgeting (PB) is a process of democratic deliberation and decision-making, in which ordinary people decide how to allocate part of a municipal A municipality is usually a single administrative division Administrative divi ...

participatory budgeting

Participatory decision-making in science

Public participation in decision-making has been studied as a way to align value judgements and risk trade-offs with public values and attitudes about acceptable risk. This research is of interest for emerging areas of science, including controversial technologies and new applications. In the United States, studies have demonstrated public support for increased participation in science. While public trust in scientists remains generally high in the United States, the public may rate scientists’ ability to make decisions on behalf of society less highly. For example, a 2016-2017 survey of public opinion on
CRISPR gene editing CRISPR gene editing (pronounced "crisper") is a genetic engineering technique in molecular biology by which the genomes of living organisms may be modified. It is based on a simplified version of the bacterial CRISPR-Cas9 antiviral defense syste ...
technology showed a “relatively broad consensus among all groups in support of the idea that the scientific community ‘should consult with the public before applying gene editing to humans,’” providing a “broad mandate for public engagement.” The scientific community has struggled to involve the public in scientific decision-making. Abuses of scientific research participants, including well-known examples like the Tuskegee syphilis experiment, may continue to erode trust in scientists among vulnerable populations. Additionally, past efforts to come to scientific consensus on controversial issues have excluded the public, and as a result narrowed the scope of technological risks considered. For example, at the 1975 Asilomar conference on recombinant DNA, scientists addressed the risks of biological contamination during laboratory experiments, but failed to consider the more varied public concerns that would surface with commercial adoption of genetically modified crops. Researchers acknowledge that further infrastructure and investment is needed to facilitate effective participatory decision-making in science. A five-part approach has been suggested: *Support effective science communication and engagement *Capitalize on the strength of diverse coalitions *Build capacity to deal with moving targets *Focus on shared values *Build trusting relationships through applied research and feedback loops

Participation in Heritage

Communities can be involved in local, regional and national cultural heritage initiatives, in the processes of creation, organisation, access, use and preservation. The internet has facilitated this, particularly via
crowdsourcing Crowdsourcing is a procurement, sourcing model in which individuals or organizations obtain goods and services, goods or services—including ideas, voting, micro-tasks, and finances—from a large, relatively open, and often rapidly evolving ...

, where the general public is asked to help contribute to shared goals, creating content, but also as a form of mutually beneficial engagement particularly with the collections and research of Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums (
GLAM Glam is a shortened form of the word glamour. Glam or GLAM may also refer to: * GLAM (industry sector), an acronym for galleries, libraries, archives, and museums, the cultural heritage institutions * Glam.com, a life-style related Web company ...
). An example of this is the Transcribe Bentham project, where volunteers are asked to transcribe the manuscripts of the philosopher
Jeremy Bentham Jeremy Bentham (; 15 February 1748 Old_Style_and_New_Style_dates">O.S._4_February_1747.html" ;"title="Old_Style_and_New_Style_dates.html" ;"title="nowiki/>Old Style and New Style dates">O.S. 4 February 1747">Old_Style_and_New_Style_dates.htm ...

Jeremy Bentham
. Challenges include: how to manage
copyright Copyright is a type of intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. ...

, ownership,
orphan work An orphan work is a copyright-protected work for which rightsholders are positively indeterminate or uncontactable. Sometimes the names of the originators or rightsholders are known, yet it is impossible to contact them because additional details c ...
s, access to
open data Open Data is the idea that some data should be freely available to everyone to use and republish as they wish, without restrictions from copyright, patents or other mechanisms of control. The goals of the open-source data movement are similar ...

open data
from heritage organisations, how to build relationships with cultural heritage
amateur An amateur (; ; ) is generally considered a person who pursues a particular activity or field of study independently from their source of income. Amateurs and their pursuits are also described as popular, informal, self-taught Autodidacticism ...
s, sustainable preservation, and attitudes towards openness.

Critiques of participation

Efforts to promote public participation have been widely critiqued. There is particular concern regarding the potential capture of the public into the sphere of influence of governance stakeholders, leaving communities frustrated by public participation initiatives, marginalized and ignored.

Civic opportunity gap

Youth participation in civic activities has been found to be linked to a student's race, academic track, and their school's
socioeconomic status Socioeconomic status (SES) is an economic and sociological combined total measure of a person's work experience and of an individual's or family's economic access to resources and social position in relation to others. When analyzing a family's ...
. The American Political Science Task Force on Inequality and American Democracy has found that those with higher socioeconomic status participate at higher rates than those with lower status. A collection of surveys on student participation in 2008 found that "Students who are more academically successful or white and those with parents of higher socioeconomic status receive more classroom-based civic learning opportunities." Youth from disadvantaged backgrounds are less likely to report participation in school-based service or
service-learning Service-learning is an educational approach that combines learning objectives with community service in order to provide a pragmatic, progressive learning experience while meeting societal needs. Service-learning involves students in service projec ...
than other students. Students with more highly educated parents and higher household incomes are more likely to have the opportunity to participate in student government, give a speech, or develop debating skills in school.

See also


External links

p-Government: Online participatory government

Reed MS (2008) Stakeholder participation for environmental management: a literature review. ''Biological Conservation'' 141: 2417–2431 (for final published version see: https://web.archive.org/web/20110608090645/http://www.wiley.com/bw/journal.asp?ref=0888-8892)
Participatory Economics Book Page (Participatory Decision Making)

"Future in the Alps"
Database with best practice examples of new forms of decision-making in the Alps
"Participatory Learning and Action series"
A leading informal journal on participatory learning and action approaches and methods, providing a forum for those engaged in participatory work - community workers, activists and researchers - to share their experiences, conceptual reflections and methodological innovations with others.
"Participation and the FAO"
The Participation Website was established in 1999 by the Informal Working Group on Participatory Approaches and Methods to Support Sustainable Livelihoods and Food Security (IWG-PA) from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The objective of the Participation Website is to bring together under one virtual roof, a broad cross-section of stakeholders interested in participatory approaches and methods in support of sustainable rural livelihoods and food security.
The author proposes a new model of electronic governance based on the shared vision and collaboration of all the stakeholders. This new governance model shall be known as p-government or participatory government.
Accountability and Participation
Research with the focus on political participation by the GIGA - German Institute of Global and Area Studies] {{DEFAULTSORT:Participation (Decision Making)
Sociological terminology This category relates to sociological Sociology is the study of society A society is a Social group, group of individuals involved in persistent Social relation, social interaction, or a large social group sharing the same spatial or s ...
Democracy Group decision-making