Publics, Politics and Power explores the emergence of new forms, sites, and practices of publicness and the implications for public services. It examines the remaking of the public in the context of new formations of the nation, where issues of migration, diversity, and faith challenge traditional forms of solidarity and citizenship. It traces the emergence of hybrid organizational forms and new strategies for governing publics and public services. It suggests some of the ways in which the public domain is being recast around notions of civil society, community, and populist participatory politics.

Engaging Publics: Participation and Power

Engaging publics: Participation and power

The shifting character of publics takes on particular salience in relation to new processes of public participation. Most governments, it seems, are currently interested in enhancing public participation; and participation is central to the strategies of the EU, the World Bank and other institutions concerned with modernisation or development. There is no simple explanation of why public participation has become so significant in governmental discourse and practice. The dominant rationale focuses on the problems of sustaining governmental legitimacy in the face of an ‘unengaged’ public who are increasingly distanced from, and disenchanted with, formal political institutions and politicians (Stoker, 2006). But this intersects with a range of more radical projects of ‘empowerment’, especially of those viewed ...

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