Graduate Project

 

Becoming a Participant: A Qualitative Study of City Participatory Bodies in Oregon. Public Deposited

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https://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_projects/9z903463s

2017

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  • Although the last decade has seen an increase in research to understand civic engagement and public participation in terms of generating involvement, less research has been conducted to understand the structures of participation and effects on and of current participants. Many local governments in the United States use boards, committees, and commissions composed of citizen participants to guide decision making. This study undertakes qualitative methods to delve into how participants navigate structures to become effective at participating in city policies and activities. The initial theory informing the research suggested that there is a divide between public want for democratic egalitarian deliberation and administrations’ want for professionalized technocratic decision making. Findings suggest that where conflict was expected between participants and administration, respect and reverence was found, which entails that participatory bodies can be more horizontally related to their governments when relationships are developed by participants. The potential explanatory power of the roles of social and cultural capital are explored. Lastly, effective participants are those that aim for ideals of growth and democracy as evidenced by cohesiveness between personal, professional, and participatory elements of their narratives about how and why various subjects become participants.
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