Participatory processes are typically viewed as democratic and transparent. This DDB report explores the pitfalls of participation. By addressing when, how and why participatory practices lead to unjust forms of participation, it offers guidance on how the pitfalls can be avoided in order to achieve just participation.
The report was presented during the seminar Att verkligen förändra: lärdomar om deltagande, socialt entreprenörskap och fattigdomsbekämpning i Afrika.
Researchers can work towards just participation and the hope is that the proposed ways to achieve just participation is of relevance also for actors involved in development cooperation. These include:
- ensuring that participants are able to make critically aware decisions and that they are provided with opportunities to express concerns about the project under safe circumstances.
- articulating participant diversity when writing about or presenting projects, avoiding overstatements, and representing people in a fair and nuanced manner.
- reflecting on and exposing neo-colonial and Eurocentric tendencies within projects as well as in larger debates.
Helena Kraff defended her dissertation Exploring pitfalls of participation – and ways towards just practices through a participatory design process in Kisumu Kenya in May 2018 at the Faculty of Fine, Applied and Performing Arts at University of Gothenburg. The dissertation was partly funded by Mistra urban futures, now the Center for sustainable urban futures at University of Gothenburg and Chalmers University of Technology. The primary research interest is residents’ participation in various forms of development processes.