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Unpacking ‘Participation’ Models, meanings and practices

This article explores some of the meanings and practices associated with participation, in theory and in practice. It suggests that it is vital to pay closer attention to who is participating, in what and for whose benefit.

Vagueness about what participation means may have helped the promise of public involvement gain purchase, but it may be time for more of what Cohen and Uphoff term ‘clarity through specificity’ if the call for more participation is to realize its democratizing promise.