Barnes, Marian; Newman, Janet and Sullivan, Helen
Discursive arenas: deliberation and the constitution of identity in public participation at local level.
Social Movement Studies, 5(3),
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This article is based on empirical research into public participation in two English cities. It discusses issues related to motivations to take part in public participation initiatives and the way in which individual and collective identities may be constructed through participation. Drawing on social movement theory it emphasises the importance both of networks and values in prompting participation and it illustrates this with examples drawn from participation initiatives based around identities: age, gender, ethnicity, and issues/interests such as health inequalities, community regeneration and social care service provision. The analysis suggests it is important to understand the histories and motivations of officials as well as citizens who take part, and questions the priority given to 'representation' in constituting the membership of participation forums.
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