Editorial (PLA 58)
Article in: PLA 58. Guest editors: Tom Wakeford and Jasber Singh. This special issue critically reflects on those rarely-discussed elements of processes that are disempowering to those with least power. ‘Citizen participation’ has typically elicited enthusiastic support from policy elites. However, past editions of PLA and numerous other studies have suggested that such initiatives have rarely impacted the mainstream political decision-making processes. Often referred to as ‘citizen engagement’ or ‘public consultation’, these processes may in reality be little more than smokescreens behind which the systems of democratic accountability fought for by progressive social movements over many decades are allowed to decay.
The overall aim of this issue is to allow practitioners to reflect on some of these aspects of participation. By fostering a deeper understanding of participation we hope to promote improved policies and practices. We believe the articles call for an increased global solidarity among those committed to transforming the power of oppressed peoples via participation.
Participatory Learning and Action (PLA, formerly PLA Notes) is the world's leading series on participatory learning and action approaches and methods. PLA publishes articles on participation aimed at practitioners, researchers, academics and activists. All articles are peer-reviewed by an international editorial board.