Topic 2 Types of Participation

Participation will take various forms depending on the different relationships and social spaces in which it occurs, having different connotations, implications, conditions, results, etc.

SOCIAL PARTICIPATION: those social initiatives in which people take a conscious part in a space, positioning themselves and joining certain groups to have a presence in the public sphere and thus claim situations or demand changes. Social participation favours personal autonomy, dignity, recognizes people, deploys their abilities, allows us to activate resistance and get us out of passivity to live freely. Participating is a path to and towards freedom. (Garcia Roca, J. 2004).

POLITICAL PARTICIPATION: it is an essential element of democratic systems and refers to all the activity of citizens that is aimed at intervening in the appointment of rulers and/or influencing them with respect to a European, regional, local, neighbourhood, etc., policies. Political participation is any intentional activity that a person develops to try to influence political issues. If there is no possibility of political participation of people in society, there is no feeling of belonging, no awareness of identity and, hardly, it is possible to speak of social integration of people or groups.

COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION: it is developed as a process through which citizens organize themselves to defend their interests, to seek solutions to their needs, etc. being themselves protagonists. It is a concept that speaks of relationships, of sharing.

CITIZEN PARTICIPATION: take part, individually or collectively, in social and political decisions in a specific territory. In citizen participation, the rights of citizenship are recognized. The participatory dimension of citizenship tells us that the formal fulfilment of the rights of citizens is not enough to nurture democracy. Participating is also a right, an attitude and speaks of people’s capacity for action and the need to encourage, favour and promote it. We identify problems and needs through participation; we achieve integration and social inclusion when we create spaces for participation. These spaces are sometimes stimulated by professionals, in others by the community itself, either due to the characteristics of individuals or groups, or due to the incidence of actions and events that slow down and prevent participation.

Table taken from the Methodological Guide for Social Participation of people in situations of poverty and social exclusion