Managing the pitfalls of participatory development: Some insight from Australia
Regional Professional Studies
Regional Professional Studies CSESS
The shift from top-down to participatory development models has given “local people” a voice, but in practice, real participation is often elusive. Reflecting on a series of development projects by and for indigenous Australians, this article probes the complexity of social relationships which underlie the apparently straightforward concept of participation. This paper argues for greater attention to “development relations”: the way that various actors in the development process relate to one another, and how these relationships directly influence project success. Key principles of power, motivation, legitimacy, and trust emerge to assist practitioners in understanding complex social relationships and managing the pitfalls of participatory development.