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A major influence from adult education has been the writings of Freire see particularly Freire , who was an emancipatory educator in Brazil and concerned with social justice. PAR challenges common notions as to the nature of knowledge and science. Fals-Borda, a prominent critic of Western dominance, explores the convergence of the two perspectives in Fals-Borda Another significant influence has been the development of a postcolonial feminist critique of research for which PAR is seen as a solution.

Hall contextualizes this critique in the wider development of PAR in Europe, Canada, and beyond. Finally, Wallerstein and Duran provides an overview of the tradition within a North American and specifically US public health context, where it has developed its own specific tradition of community-based participatory research CBPR. Fals-Borda, O. Participatory action research in social theory: Origins and challenges. In Handbook of action research. Edited by P. Reason and H. Bradbury, 27— London: SAGE. Argues that a researcher that engages in PAR is not simply engaging in a participatory method: they are joining a movement.

Freire, P. Pedagogy of the oppressed. London: Bloomsbury. This classic text provides an understanding of the key values and philosophy that underpin PAR. Its main argument is that by teaching people to question they can be the source of change themselves. This book remains a must read for anyone trying to understand the true basis of PAR. Hall, B. From margins to center?

The development and purpose of participatory research. American Sociologist DOI: An excellent overview of the origins and development of participatory action research, including the founding of the International Participatory Research Network in New Delhi in an effort to counter the dominance of North America.

Managing participation – including more marginalized voices

It outlines some of the challenges including co-option by academia. Heron, John, and Peter Reason. A participatory inquiry paradigm. Qualitative inquiry 3. Outlines participative inquiry and its key dimensions, distinguishing it from constructivsm in qualitative inquiry. Links cooperative inquiry as developed by Heron to this new paradigmatic way of thinking and demonstrates how it works.

Rahman, M. Some trends in the praxis of participatory action research. In A handbook of action research: Participative inquiry and practice. Edited by H. Bradbury and P. Reason, 49— Reason, P. Human inquiry: A sourcebook of new paradigm research. Chichester, UK: J. This early book provides examples of the foundations of participatory action research that forms part of the northern European experience and the early debate on new paradigm research.

In their introduction, Reason and Rowan set out their basic thinking about different types of knowledge: propositional, presentational, experiential and practical, and the essence of participatory inquiry. Wallerstein, N. Participatory governance is at the apex of citizen engagement both as a form of participatory and deliberative democracy Caddy and Vergez , and as a form of governance that seeks active partnerships and collaboration between civil society, the private sector and governments Reddel and Woolcock Shifts through the continuum reflect increased acceptance of ideas of community, social capital, and localism as the foundations of political activity and policy-making.

It involves a shift from technocratic development of policy with its programmatic or regulatory control, to situations where some control may be negotiated away from single government agencies. Such participation is not new in Australia: local governments have perhaps intermittently long provided forums and organising capacity to facilitate arrangements that engage and build local capacity.

At state and federal government level there is a long history of facilitation of area improvement programs, regional initiatives and local capacity building projects. However, these have rarely been sustained and too often their effectiveness has not been evaluated. Federal governments have asserted an interest in social capital formation but appear unwilling to invest directly in such programs.

By contrast, almost all state governments have taken a more direct role in facilitating community capacity building. This activity carries an implicit view that traditional notions of consultation and centrally managed community input into the policy process are no longer sufficient to manage community expectations and the complexity of modern political life Davis In Victoria, for example, the government has commenced work on community capacity building, on measures for social capital, service integration and community well-being, and on local learning and employment networks.

It has also formally adopted a set of principles to underpin its engagement policy, and has encouraged local governments to develop four-year community plans that include processes of community participation Martin However, Wiseman concludes that while the Victorian government has energetically explored an extensive program of consultative and community-building strategies, it has been more cautious about opening up debate about participatory and deliberative decision making processes. He observes that in Victoria:.

At the same time, there is evidence that due to resource constraints, some local councils are actually withdrawing from community engagement at this time when state level governments are enhancing their involvement Martin In Queensland, the intention to utilise multi-sector partnerships was signalled by the Premier who declared that:.

There is … an emerging service delivery model involving governments working in partnership with communities to determine needs, devise strategies for meeting these needs, implementing activities consistent with these strategies and ultimately monitoring results. The emphasis is on community empowerment and not on traditional functional program delivery Queensland Government The government of Queensland has issued a package of policies and programs aimed at greater participation in policy development and service delivery, although it should be noted that these represent strategic intentions which have yet to be fully implemented or evaluated Reddel and Woolcock Reddel and Woolcock argue that these strategic intentions are overdue in that past practices have failed to appreciate the critical role of local government, community associations and other forms of civil society; and even when recognised, their diversity and complexity were not always easy to accommodate because of the dominance of managerial policies which foster largely passive notions of consultation and agency coordination.

More recent reports on the Queensland programs indicate some positive gains, notably the community renewal program focusing on fifteen disadvantaged areas in the state, and the Cape York initiative to address long-standing social problems in indigenous communities in that region. In both cases, the authors claim that these early successes may be due to the use of techniques of associational governance, whereby integrated policy responses involve a movement beyond the traditional social welfare constituency to engage communities more broadly Smyth et al.

For example, the City of Playford South Australia in its development of a high-performance growth hub Genoff , or the Sydney Harbour Manager project involving a memorandum of understanding between 14 agencies and 19 local councils. It assumes many voices, competing interests and goals, and shifts in interests and alliances.

There is also growing interest in and practice of alternative means of enhancing community engagement. For example, deliberative democratic processes are being employed by governments at all levels in Australia Carson These are robust consultation methods that add value to policy-making processes, especially in enabling governments to deal more effectively with complex policy issues such as stem cell research, Aboriginal reconciliation, asylum seeking and climate change. Techniques used also include innovative collaborative planning methods, such as those being used to mediate water and land-use conflicts in British Columbia see, for example Frame et al.

A significant number of Australian local governments are following suit. A number of important issues emerge from this discussion. First, as indicated earlier, the data is incomplete and anecdotal about the extent of any shift towards more participative forms of governance. This, of course, is not a problem specific to Australia.

Some report positively on early trends and anecdotal feedback on the results of some of these initiatives, especially in Victoria, whilst others suggest that:. A second issue relates to the endemic weaknesses of local government in Australia, and the burden imposed by the increasing tasks mandated for it by other spheres.

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In the UK, Geddes questions the capacity of local partnerships to create structural change and resolve complex economic and social problems, so given the stronger role of local government in that jurisdiction, it is likely to be even more difficult for Australian local governments. As Beer et al. This has been recognised by the provision of relatively large national government grants to those councils most in need.

However, despite horizontal equalisation these local governments appear poorly placed to assume the type of leadership required to advance participatory governance. It is more likely that leadership in these resource challenged environments has to be assumed by regional bodies such as voluntary regional organisations of councils or regional development networks in concert with state and not-for-profit agencies — provided that these regional bodies are themselves able to marshal sufficient resources and leadership expertise for the purpose.

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  5. Third, and on the other hand, there are doubts that state governments would ever be able to effectively manage local initiatives for participatory governance. By contrast, it has often been acknowledged that many local governments in Australia have satisfactorily met their intended functions of service delivery, adequate representation and participation, and advocacy of constituent needs to higher levels of government Marshall This provides some confidence that local government has a significant place and skill set to be a valued partner in participatory governance, even if there are questions about the capacity of many smaller councils to lead this process.

    For there to be real benefits from citizen engagement, consultation about public policy needs to move beyond the piecemeal and haphazard process which is evident in Australia today Curtain The concept of engagement appears to be valued, perhaps even seen as necessary, but in few instances has the practice yet been accepted as a fundamental right of communities to enable them to assume a formal place in governance.

    At this stage, it is unclear whether Australian local governments will be able to meet this challenge in ways seen in some other countries, such as the United Kingdom or Canada, where principles of subsidiarity, citizen empowerment and community engagement are more established features of the political landscape. Changing Behaviour: a public policy perspective ,. Arnstein, S. Cahn, et al.

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    Aulich, C. Denters, and L. Bowman, M. Bowman and W. Caddy, J. Vergez, Carson, L. Wood, Curtain, R. Colebatch ed. Cuthill, M. Fien, Davis, G. Botsman, and M.

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