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Democratizing InequalitiesDilemmas of the New Public Participation$
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Caroline W. Lee, Michael McQuarrie, and Edward T. Walker

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781479847273

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479847273.001.0001

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Realizing the Promise of Public Participation in an Age of Inequality

Realizing the Promise of Public Participation in an Age of Inequality

(p.247) Chapter 13 Realizing the Promise of Public Participation in an Age of Inequality
Democratizing Inequalities

Caroline W. Lee

Michael McQuarrie

Edward T. Walker

NYU Press

This concluding chapter reexamines the pitfalls and unrealized promises of public participation in a context of severe structural inequalities. Focusing on remedies suggested in the other chapters of this book, it argues that critical perspectives on participation are necessary in order to leverage the opportunities for challenging inequalities resulting from fiscal and political crises. The chapter outlines four questions that can pave the way for new research on participation and public deliberation: probing how cultural discourses around participation are intertwined with historically specific political environments; recontextualizing and historicizing what is really “new” about the new public participation, including the concepts of participatory budgeting and Asset-Based Community Development; linking the new public participation to larger trends in the reinforcement of inequality in the present moment; and reevaluating the continuing promise of participation, such as in the case of empowerment projects, despite mixed, complex results.

Keywords:   public participation, new public participation, inequality, participatory budgeting, Asset-Based Community Development, empowerment projects, public deliberation

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