Participatory Governance

  • Therese O’Toole
  • Richard Gale
Part of the Palgrave Politics of Identity and Citizenship Series book series ( CAL)


Participatory governance, as we set out in Chapter 2, can be understood as a form of decentred governance based on partnering between governors and citizens (Newman 2005) that has become an increasingly prevalent mode of governance in the UK and elsewhere. Participatory governance is often advocated as a means of addressing complex policy problems (Bang 2004) such as ethnic conflict, social exclusion or youth disaffection. Indeed, under New Labour, the engagement of ethnic minority and Muslim young people through participatory governance was regarded as a mechanism for addressing problems of urban disorder, social inequalities and violent political extremism (Cantle 2001; O’Toole et al. 2012), framed by discourses of active citizenship, civil renewal, neighbourhood renewal, ‘double devolution’ and community cohesion. Back et al. suggest that these changing modes of governance should be central to any analysis of ethnic minority political participation, not least because the ‘reconfiguration of central state/local state relations in the UK since 2000, and the reframing of the balance between participatory and representative democracy, has pluralized the institutions and sites where political power is contested’ (2009: 2). This insight in our view is an important one, although not one that has been sufficiently theoretically or empirically investigated in the study of ethnicity and political participation.


Young People Political Engagement Civil Society Actor Community Cohesion Violent Extremism 
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Copyright information

© Therese O’Toole and Richard Gale 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Therese O’Toole
    • 1
  • Richard Gale
    • 2
  1. 1.University of BristolUK
  2. 2.Cardiff UniversityUK

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