Climate change e-petitions. Community visioning sessions. Stakeholder task forces. Health policy dialogues. Grassroots philanthropy. The sheer number of invitations to “have your say” can seem overwhelming. The unexpected triumph of progressive values inherent in bottom-up engagement has been hailed by observers as a civic renaissance, a collaborative revolution, a new participation economy. It would appear that public participation is more widespread than ever. But, contrary to long-held assumptions about the relationship between democratization and social equality, this expansion of political equality has been accompanied by a corresponding decline in social and economic equality.
Building on an influential conference held at New York University’s Institute for Public Knowledge, this timely edited volume brings together leading scholars to critically investigate the consequences of the expansion of participation across the political and economic landscape.