This entry reviews the troubled relationship between empowerment and community participation. It considers the history of each concept and some main areas of debate. It then reviews some typologies that seek to identify forms of participation that are and are not empowering, and discusses a series of critiques that suggest that either or both concepts have been deradicalized as they have moved nearer the center of development thinking. This theoretical discussion is then grounded in a brief review of some examples of participation in development practice. The entry closes by considering how the representation of and possibilities for participation and empowerment are shaped by the character of the development industry.
|International Encyclopaedia of Anthropology