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Real participation or the tyranny of participatory practice? Public art and community involvement in the regeneration of the Raploch, Scotland

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Vee Pollock


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The language of participation and empowerment has become a convention in urban redevelopment practice. While on first glance there is little to disagree with, a critical literature has emerged around the notion that participation has become a new ‘tyranny’ that, despite its claims, is little more than tokenism. However, it is the contention of this paper that the impacts of participation in community-based urban regeneration projects are complex, usually contested and often contradictory. While an uncritical vocabulary of ‘participation’ has proliferated in both cultural and regeneration policy, the actual practice on the ground reveals significant difficulties which have implications for policy goals of community participation and empowerment, and for the community itself. Rather than seeing it as a problem, or something to be removed as soon as possible from the process, contestation and conflict should be recognised as appropriate reflections of community.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Pollock VL, Sharp JP

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Urban Studies

Year: 2012

Volume: 49

Issue: 14

Pages: 3063-3079

Print publication date: 02/04/2012

ISSN (print): 0042-0980

ISSN (electronic): 1360-063X

Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd.


DOI: 10.1177/0042098012439112


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