chapter  9
26 Pages

Participation?

Parts II and III make apparent the importance of relationships between residents and authorities in an area of social exclusion. Poor relationships can reinforce residents’ sense of insecurity and powerlessness while limiting authorities’ capacity to address local concerns and problems. Relationships that have been strained during decline are made fraught when brought suddenly into intensive contact during a period of consultation. Repairing these relationships, garnering the support and including residents in decisions about changes to the area is central to the local governance of the area, both in its physical regeneration and in the governance of security. This fundamental quandary for governance, of the need for good relationships while preserving a capacity to coerce, which can damage those relationships, is key to an emphasis on citizen participation in local governance. Citizen participation has become an almost unquestionable good in local governance. Whether within criminal justice sanctions, service delivery or redevelopment, the involvement of local people has become well nigh mandatory for bids for funding and as a means of achieving reform. However, the widely varying understandings and experiences that residents and professionals bring to such processes can make their likely outcomes unpredictable. Where the preceding chapters have outlined some of these perspectives, this chapter now attempts, by way of conclusion, to explore some of the outcomes of the clash of these world views during consultation. In this I am returning to the core questions of the book, unpacking the ways in which residents and professionals

interpreted their own and each others’ activities in participatory processes through their ‘habituated’ world views.