Distinguishing Inclusion and Participation

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  • Topic: Community building, Government, Community organizing
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Journal of Planning Education and Research http://jpe.sagepub.com/

Distinguishing Participation and Inclusion
Kathryn S. Quick and Martha S. Feldman Journal of Planning Education and Research 2011 31: 272 originally published online 22 June 2011 DOI: 10.1177/0739456X11410979 The online version of this article can be found at: http://jpe.sagepub.com/content/31/3/272

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410979
FeldmanJournal of Planning Education and Research

JPEXXX10.1177/0739456X11410979Quick,

Article

Distinguishing Participation and Inclusion
Kathryn S. Quick1 and Martha S. Feldman2

Journal of Planning Education and Research 31(3) 272–290 © The Author(s) 2011 Reprints and permission: http://www. sagepub.com/journalsPermissions.nav DOI: 10.1177/0739456X11410979 http://jpe.sagepub.com

Abstract This article argues that participation and inclusion are independent dimensions of public engagement and elaborates the relationships of inclusion with deliberation and diversity. Inclusion continuously creates a community involved in defining and addressing public issues; participation emphasizes public input on the content of programs and policies. Features of inclusive processes are coproducing the process and content of decision making, engaging multiple ways of knowing, and sustaining temporal openness. Using a community of practice lens, we compare the consequences of participatory and inclusive practices in four processes, finding that inclusion supports an ongoing community with capacity to address a stream of issues. Keywords inclusion, participation, public engagement, deliberation, diversity, community of practice

In this article, we focus on the practices of organizing public engagement and their consequences for the community capacities that public engagement creates. We suggest that conflicts regarding the utility of public engagement are frequently the result of conflating what are actually two independent dimensions of public engagement: participation and inclusion. We define the two dimensions as follows: Participation practices entail efforts to increase public input oriented primarily to the content of programs and policies. Inclusion practices entail continuously creating a community involved in coproducing processes, policies, and programs for defining and addressing public issues. Although inclusion is a term often used to designate concerns related to marginalized populations, our use of this term expands the meaning. In a later section of the paper, we explore the connections between demographic diversity and inclusion. Distinguishing participation and inclusion illuminates the implications of different practices of public engagement for the capacities of the community to make decisions and implement programs. Conflation of participation and inclusion under the overarching category of “public engagement,” or simply “participation,” muddles both the practice and theory of organizing democratic engagement. While public participation is often a mandated part of decision-making processes, how public participation is implemented can exacerbate tensions between government organizations and members of the public. Public bodies may go to great lengths to create forums for the public to provide input on policy choices, only to have the public decline to take part because...
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