Topic 1 Participation

Taking these two dimensions into account, participation entails two elements: being, by which one forms part of the collective identity; and action, which refers to active incorporation through voluntary decisions.

TO BE PART Of social relationship networks Inclusive Communication
BE IN
A place
Integrated Close
Knowledge
FEEL PART
of a community
Identity Otherness
Awareness

TAKE PART
HAVE PART

In a future project. In procedures
To decide
Action
MAKE PARTICIPATION
Process
Involve
Where the subjects cooperate, share and take co-responsibility to transform their reality

(Source: Julio Alguacil Gómez. Participation as a process of social transformation: the relational strategy in local government)

Analysing the table above, we see how the first two elements (communication and knowledge) indicate that the subjects integrated and in direct contact are part of groups that are linked to a territory. That belonging is synthesized in a feeling, in the identity that is built in relation to others (otherness), produces a third element (awareness). The awareness that allows the step to take part in the decisions that affects them, which means that consciousness is not possible without being and being linked, and it is not possible to take part in decisions without feeling part of them. Finally, an integrated action is an intelligent action that builds the process, and draws it with relational strategies, of sharing, of cooperating, of continuous co-responsibility.

Participation supposes a dynamic in which citizens become consciously and voluntarily involved in all aspects that affect them and are related to them and their lives. For that reason, some aspects are required to participate:

  • Empathy and credibility: those who participate need to trust the honesty of the person calling for participation, understand and value the meaning and impact of their participation, see their results.
  • Information: to participate, basic information is required on what is the subject or object of participation, as well as the mechanisms and rules of the game.
  • Communication: participation requires dialogue, the ability of both sides to listen and learn.
  • Clear conditions, rules and mechanisms: good intentions are not enough, it is essential to ensure the conditions (material, institutional, time, space, etc.) to facilitate participation, preventing it from becoming a burden, an additional source of tensions or in a futile exercise.
  • Association: participation must take into account and promote the associative experience of the people and groups involved.
  • Cooperative and networking: it allows articulating the presence of the different actors, achieving a mutual enrichment that reverts to the entity, the community and the inhabited territory.