An Overview of Research on Public Participation in Democracy: A Lot of Fuss about Nothing?

Democracy and Participation: A Review of Existing Knowledge
By Loïc Blondiaux, Jean-Michel Fourniau

At first glance, the extensive literature on participation research presents an impression of being very diverse. However, it is possible to derive from this existing knowledge several shared assumptions and a set of salient questions around which a scientific debate can flourish. These eight cross-cutting questions demonstrate how successful this participation research may be at analyzing broader social and political phenomena, thus making participation research possible while still constraining it. This research emphasizes the need for building further connections between areas of research that go beyond disciplinary boundaries and theoretical models, and in so doing, justify the creation of a network and a new journal dedicated to participation research.


  • participation
  • public action
  • decision
  • procedures
  • deliberation
  • devices
  • conflict
  • institution
  • expertise
  • professionalization
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