Community engagement: Participation on whose terms?

Head, B. W. (2007) Community engagement: Participation on whose terms?. Australian Journal of Political Science, 42 3: 441-454. doi:10.1080/10361140701513570

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Author Head, B. W.
Title Community engagement: Participation on whose terms?
Journal name Australian Journal of Political Science   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1036-1146
Publication date 2007
Year available 2007
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/10361140701513570
Volume 42
Issue 3
Start page 441
End page 454
Total pages 14
Editor McAllister, I.
Place of publication Abingdon
Publisher Routledge Journals, Taylor & Francis Ltd
Collection year 2008
Language eng
Subject C1
360201 Public Policy
780106 Political science and public policy
Abstract Community engagement and citizen participation have long been important themes in liberal democratic theory, although managerial versions of liberal democracy have typically been dominant. In the past two decades, however, many countries have seen a shift away from a managerial or top-down approach, towards a revitalised emphasis on building institutional bridges between governmental leaders and citizenry, often termed 'community engagement'. This paper outlines some of the main explanations for this shift, including international trends in governance and political economy; the availability of improved communications technologies; the need to share responsibility for resolving complex issues; and the local politics of managing social, economic and environmental projects. Some critical perspectives are also raised, suggesting a degree of scepticism about the intentions of government and implying serious limits on the potential influence of the citizenry and community groups. Important distinctions are drawn between policy arenas, in relation to the different dynamics and opportunities in different policy fields. The importance of building effective capacity for citizens and all non-government organisations (NGOs) to participate is emphasised. Typologies of community engagement are outlined, and linked to ideas about social capital.
Keyword Political Science
Q-Index Code C1

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Created: Mon, 18 Feb 2008, 15:46:31 EST