Publication year: 

This short paper explores two key aspects of development and participation. The first is power relations: described as a latecomer to development, and seen as critical in its pervasiveness and ability to affect the quality of process and experience. The author describes the experience of an ActionAid Forum where participants critically reflected on how they were behaving and relating to one another. Over the days this was at times frustrating, threatening and inhibiting, but ultimately seminal: bringing home the central significance of power and power relations in development practice. The paper lists some key methodological issues for understanding and managing power relations. æInnovation as a way of beingÆ is the second aspect to be looked at. If participation is forced, seen as an end rather than a means, or takes on a rigid ideology it can become a tyranny. Good participation is described as a river, constantly changing, shifting and flowing in new directions: innovation is seen as critical to this happening, encouraging exploration, excitement and learning. The paper concludes with some lessons for the future.

Source publication information
Journal Title: 
Participatory learning and action
No. 52
IIED, 3 Endsleigh Street, London WC1H ODD, UK
Publisher reference: 
International Institute for Environment and Development