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Über dieses Buch

Knowing what deep participation is, and how it works, can make a critical difference in solving 21st century economic, political, and social problems. This book provides a new approach to hands-on change and begins formulation of a participatory social theory promising greater prosperity and justice for all.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Introduction: Turning Points

Introduction: Turning Points

Crises abound and solutions remain scarce as we begin to make our way through the 21st century. As a result, are social movements making a comeback? In the past several years, citizens around the world watched the protestors of the Arab Spring on one continent, Occupy Wall Street and the 99 percenters on another, and Ukraine on a third; each began as a social protest whose leaders and activists hoped would become a successful social movement. Instead, each has demonstrated the limits of political and economic power and underscored the rapidity with which threat, physical domination, and violence can appear as a response. Underlying all of this has been a worldwide economic downturn featuring increasing inequality and injustice fueling ever-growing anger among citizens of all nations who feel betrayed by both international banking systems and their own national governments. Thus, the intractability and violence of poverty has expanded everyone’s insecurity has increased, and the possibilities for social justice have diminished.
Paula Donnelly Roark

Rethinking Participation and Social Change

Frontmatter

1. Background and Overview: Everybody Counts or Nobody Counts

Deep participation dynamics are complex and interactive with numerous factors of life and power. It is tempting to try to simplify their explanation; however, if we do so, we are left with an elegant definition that may sound good but is still insufficient. So, in this chapter we will allow the overlapping messiness and complexity to show itself, but at the same time define a map and path for our exploration of deep participation and social integrative power that acknowledges the complexity while still defining a succinct and useful way forward.
Paula Donnelly Roark

2. Current Participatory Approaches

Participation is about power, but we don’t often understand it that way. Power is usually perceived in terms of its political threat, economic coercive exchange, or physical assault capacities. Therefore participation is rarely conceptualized in those terms. Instead, it is primarily looked upon as the simple process of including people in particular sets of activities. But research illustrates that it is also often used as a coercive activity that actively limits the power of one group and enhances the authority of the other.1 However, when we analyze it further, participation also has the capacity to connect, but we rarely, if ever, define power in this manner.
Paula Donnelly Roark

3. Rethinking Participation Practice and Theory

By the 1990s and continuing to the present, ambiguities of participation theory and practice have become increasingly apparent. Over the past three decades, international organizations slowly, and then more rapidly, accepted participation as part of their programming. However, the actual practice of substantive participation, as envisioned by many participation practitioners, was effectively marginalized. One of the reasons for this state of affairs is that there were relatively few experienced practitioners but many well-intentioned participation promoters. While these promoters wholeheartedly believed in participation from a philosophical perspective, they had little practice with the complexity of principle and process. But the real problem was even more profound than that. Looking around at organizational efforts to adopt effective participation practices, it became clear that we needed a better understanding of the interactions and dynamics of participation practice, as well as a better notion of the structure of participatory social theory.
Paula Donnelly Roark

Deep Participation: A Natural Dynamic of the World

Frontmatter

4. New Directions

Understanding how and why participation works obviously requires informative theory. The lack of such a theoretical framework encumbers and diminishes, in my estimation, participation’s positive impact on the critical collective action social issues of our day. This conclusion also indicates that these issues are larger and more multidimensional than normally discussed in international development studies. Considering this situation, I recalled a statement that had been made some time ago at a Conference of Participation Practitioners in Kokrabite, Ghana.1 The comment was made by a shy colleague from Nigeria; it underscored the similarities of participation approaches that we all had commented on throughout the conference.
Paula Donnelly Roark

5. The Six Elements of Deep Participation

Exploring the six elements of deep participation in some detail begins to answer the critical question of how any societal group or society—sometimes marginal and isolated from the centers of political and economic power, and sometimes right in the thick of it—actually reinvents and reconstructs, when necessary, its institutions in new and complex ways.1 To accomplish this endeavor, existing social compacts, guiding images, and cultural metaphors are revised and reorganized. As a result, the societal group itself must develop the capacity to socially reinvent existing social knowledge, legitimize the resulting new social conventions, and renegotiate existing power alignments, thereby re-creating stability. Certainly not an easy task, but still a possible one if deep participation’s elements and processes are used.
Paula Donnelly Roark

6. Tracing Deep Participation in West Africa

In this and the next chapter, we trace the dynamics and factors that make up deep participation in real-life situations. In this chapter, “Local Level Institutions and Poverty Reduction in West Africa”, a previously published case study, provides an example of deep participation that is well established and in full bloom. In Chapter 7, the second case study, “Environmental Stewardship in North America”, also previously published, provides an example of deep participation in its initial stages. But it has the potential to achieve similar large-scale changes, if continued over time.
Paula Donnelly Roark

7. Tracing Deep Participation in North America

Remember that elephant sitting in our global living room? And remember that necessary but faulty link between our capacity to protect and conserve the ecological functions of our planet and substantially reduce poverty at the same time? Water scarcity is a critical and growing facet of both of these problems. In Africa, one-third of the continent’s people now live in countries that are officially determined to be water scarce. But water scarcity is not limited to just the materially poor regions of the world. Several years ago in North America, California was unable to garner sufficient support for its renewal of a subregional Colorado River water contract. Warring factions within the state could not agree on water division within the state because proportional allocations among states had already been substantially reduced. Each side continues to fear the debilitating effects of less water, even though agreements, for now, have been reached. However, as of 2014, the drought affecting the Colorado River Basin and its seven contiguous states is now in its 13th year and substantial deficits continue to rise, particularly for California and Arizona.
Paula Donnelly Roark

Participatory Social Theory in a Fast Changing World

Frontmatter

8. Stalemate or Reinvention?

Given the inquiry into deep participation, its six elements, and the illustrative case studies, we now begin to have a sense of its inherent complexity. There is also little understanding of participatory dynamics by social theorists, and even participation practitioners, in the context of rapid social change. As a result, there is only minimal support for theorists in their efforts to develop a participatory social theory or for practitioners in their efforts to assist communities in achieving their aspirations in this situation. The intent here, then, is to begin a theoretical discussion on what this category of theory should include. My contribution here in defining deep participation in the context of rapid social change and then offering a beginning formulation of this new theory is a modest one in terms of the large amount of work required to complete the task. But it does provide a substantial starting point upon which participatory social theory can be developed in full.
Paula Donnelly Roark

9. The Dynamics of Participation

The dynamics of participation have played an outsized role in the identification of deep participation. But these participation dynamics are also critically important in the definition of theory. As it turns out, two different perspectives are required. Ordinary participation dynamics ensure the continuity of all vital social, political, and economic institutions and frameworks of daily life. As such, they facilitate ongoing readjustment to new environmental stimuli and facilitate gradual social change, which keeps families, organizations, and institutions vital and vibrant on a day-to-day and year-to-year basis. While not well known, ordinary participation is verifiable and an everyday part of our daily lives. It can therefore be easily accessed for the implementation of projects and programs that aim for socioeconomic change, ranging from international development programs to nationally and locally funded domestic community assistance programs.
Paula Donnelly Roark

10. Formulating a Participatory Social Theory

Deep participation is a basic mechanism underlying social transformation. Found within the context of rapid socioeconomic and political change, it also provides the dynamic center point for formulation of a participatory social theory. Deep participation’s final result is a change-of-type social change characterized by greater inclusiveness and social integration. This potential for harmonious social change is particularly vital in today’s world. Social, political, and economic divisions are intensifying worldwide, and the limitations of simply using political threat or economic coercive power are becoming all too apparent. Deep participation’s potential to assist groups maneuvering through difficult times therefore has positive and far-reaching implications.
Paula Donnelly Roark

11. Conclusion: Creating Social Justice

The intent of a final chapter in a book such as this is to finalize the ideas that we have been discussing in a way that organizes them and makes them easy to assimilate so as to move forward. These deep participation and participatory social theory concepts, however, are so new and different, that they are neither fixed for us individually nor grounded within our various societies. When things are “up in the air” in this way, I have found that it is often a mistake to try and settle them too quickly. Instead, I will try to open the door to the possibility to “create dangerously” as Albert Camus, quoted in the introduction of this book, exhorts all of us to do. But to do so in a consistent and long-term manner requires that we change our address and decide to willingly and consciously live between rebellion and order.
Paula Donnelly Roark

Backmatter

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