Calls for greater participation of those affected by development interventions have a long history. This expert reader explores the conceptual and methodological dimensions of participatory research and the politics and practice of participation in development. Through excerpts from the texts that have inspired contemporary advocates of participation, accounts of the principles of participatory research and empirical studies that show some of the complexities of participation in practice, it offers a range of reflections on participation that will be of interest to those new to the field and experienced practitioners alike. Bringing together for the first time classic and contemporary writings from a literature that spans a century, it offers a unique perspective on the possibilities and dilemmas that face those seeking to enable those affected by development projects, programmes and policies.
'Cornwall's Participation Reader, which brings together some of the most insightful writings on the discourses, politics and practice of participation in development since the 1960s, is a valuable document of record. The articles are lively, well written and provide the necessary critical engagement with one of the most contentious but often taken for granted ideas in development. The Participation Reader is certain to become as must read for all students, teachers, researchers and practitioners of development.' - Professor Dzodzi Tsikata, University of Ghana 'Andrea Cornwall has created a powerful go-to volume on participation encompassing foundational literature, thoughtful reflections on processes and theories, insightful critiques and inspiring descriptions of participatory initiatives. Citizens, organizers, students and researchers will return to The Participation Reader again and again for grounded analyses of the problems and possibilities of 'participation'.' Professor Louise Fortmann, Berkeley 'This volume is a compelling and critical look at both the concept and practice of participation, a topic that has been afflicted, in the words of one its contributors, by 'popularity without clarity'. It is a comprehensive effort at advancing clarity, and offers convincing analyses of the oversimplification, depoliticization, and instrumentalization that has characterized the debates and discourse on participation in recent times. With an impressive array of writers, including leading participation theorists and practitioners from around the world, we are led systematically through definitions, principles, methodologies, case studies and critiques, and emerge with sharper conceptual and strategic insights for advancing the democratization project.' - Srilatha Batliwala, Scholar Associate, Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID).