In this book, development and other social policy scholars and practitioners seek to address simplistic criticisms of participation, while addressing key problems of power and politics. The authors describe and analyse new experiments in participation from a wide diversity of social contexts that show how participation can, given certain conditions, be linked to genuinely transformative processes and outcomes for marginalised communities and people. The book looks at links between participatory development and participatory governance, and spans the range of institutional actors involved in these approaches including the state, civil society and donor agencies. The book places participatory interventions in political contexts, and links them to issues of popular agency and development theory. The book is grouped under six main themes: from tyranny to transformation?; rethinking participation; participation as popular agency: reconnecting with underlying processes of development; realizing transformative participation in practice: state and civil responses; donors and participation: caught between tyranny and transformation; and broader perspectives on from tyranny to transformation. Chapters include "Towards participation as transformation: critical themes and challenges" by Sam Hickey and Giles Mohan; "Towards participatory governance: assessing the transformative possibilities" by John Gaventa; "Rules of thumb for participatory change agents" by Bill Cooke; "Relocating participation within a radical politics of development: critical modernism and citizenship" by Giles Mohan and Sam Hickey; "Spaces for transformation? Reflections on issues of power and difference in participation in development" by Andrea Cornwall; "Towards a repoliticization of participatory development: political capabilities and spaces of empowerment" by Glyn Williams; "Participation, resistance and problems with the local in Peru: towards a new political contract?" by Susan Vincent; "The transformative unfolding of tyrannical participation: the corvÚe tradition and ongoing local politics in Western Nepal" by Katsuhiko Masaki; "Morality, citizenship and participatory development in an indigenous development association: the case of GPSDO and the Sebat Bet Gurage of Ethiopia" by Leroi Henry; "Relocating participation within a radical politics of development: insights from political action and practice" by Sam Hickey and Giles Mohan; "Securing voice and transforming practice in local government: the role of federating in grassroots development" by Diana Mitlin; "Participatory municipal development plans in Brazil: divergent partners constructing common futures" by Glauco Regis Florisbelo and Irene Guijit; "Confrontations with power: moving beyond the tyranny of safety in participation" by Ute Kelly; "Falling forward: going beyond PRA and imposed forms of participation" by Mark Waddington and Giles Mohan; "Participation in poverty reduction strategies: democracy strengthened or democracy undermined?" by David Brown; "Beyond the technical fix? Participation in donor approaches to rights-based development" by Jeremy Holland, Mary Ann Brocklesby and Charles Aburge; "The social embeddedness of agency and decision-making" by Frances Cleaver; and "Theorizing participation and institutional change: ethnography and political economy" by Anthony Bebbington.
Robert Chambers argues that central issues in development have been overlooked and that many past errors have flowed from domination by those with power. Through analysing experience - of past mistakes and myths and of the continuing methodological revolution of PRA - the author points towards solutions. He argues that personal, professional and instiutional change is essential if the realities of the poor are to receive greater recognition.