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Participation: are some more equal than others?

Castile, Sue, Stewart, Angela and Kagan, Carolyn (2004) Participation: are some more equal than others? [Conference or Workshop Item] (Unpublished)

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In the European Community Psychology Conference in Bergen, 2000 we left our discussion of participation and local community activism with the 1968 student protest poster: Clearly this implies that those other than participants are likely to profit from their participation. It also reminds us that participation is a political activity suffused with tensions and ambiguities (Todd & Taylor, 2004). In this paper we would like to discuss this notion further, by looking at the context of participation in the UK, criticisms that have been raised in relation to participatory processes, and ways of understanding some of the psychological issues relating to participation and community psychological praxis. In doing this we will describe some real experiences of participation in and by residents in local communities that highlight both the possibilities and dangers of engaging in participation, and wherein might lie the gains.

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