By William Boyce
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Additional info for A Seat at the Table: Persons with Disabilities and Policy Making
This imbalance raises the issue of who benefits from a negotiated decision-making process. Most community organization theorists view the practice of citizen participation as a blend of these organizational functions and participatory processes. Particular methods of community work are appropriate at different times for different issues. This conceptualization makes analysis and evaluation of community projects problematic. There is a consistency of view, however, that over time community organizations must address their relationships with outside groups, institutions, and social structures that influence the well being of the community (Jackson et al.
Political Economy Theory Why does the state espouse citizen participation as a primary strategy in policy making? Political economy theories relate the policy arena to society as a whole. They acknowledge the powerful interests that rule Canada, consigning an important role to ideology, and they adopt assumptions of critical theory such as emancipation, structural influences, and the power of knowledge (Salmon 1989). An additional core consideration in the political-economic view is the legitimation of different groups as participants in decision-making.
Participation may be intended to promote equity, but there is always a risk of inequitable distribution of benefits in a policy context, depending on who is involved and how the process is controlled. On a macro-level, Navarro (1984) notes that there is a contradiction in the state's advocating local autonomy while maintaining centralized, bureaucratic planning of public programs. At the local level, there is a parallel contradiction in the use of the rhetoric of empowerment without an understanding of power relations in the community (Farrant 1991).
A Seat at the Table: Persons with Disabilities and Policy Making by William Boyce