Participatory Governance & its Theories with Criticisms

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From the good governance indicators, you can get the concept of participatory governance. In this article, we’ll define the participatory governance and analyze the theories on participatory governance with criticisms. Before going to the main topic, we have to understand what is participation?


Participation is a one kinds of a process in which stakeholders or participants are influenced and shared control over development initiatives, decisions, and resources that are affected them.

Why Participation?

When arises the question why participation? answers are simple. Such as:-

  • Equal distribution of resources to mass people
  • Decentralized the power of authority
  • Reduced the autocratic power of government in decision making
  • Poverty reduction
  • Establish clear channel for community
  • Building local capacity to interact with authorities and other stakeholders.

Participatory Governance (PG):

Participatory governance refers to a synergy of power between the actors of state and society. Participatory governance refers to the collaborative efforts of the public for the purpose of providing high-quality programs and services. Participatory governance can make:-

    1. better citizens
    2. better decisions &
    3. better government.

Why Participatory Governance?

Participatory governance is very important to implement the good governance in a state or country. Because:-

  • To ensure transformation of power
  • To ensure involvement civil people in the government
  • To ensure participatory budget
  • Participatory governance is needed to make participatory planning
  • Participatory governance is needed to ensure equal distribution of resources.

Where does Participatory Governance Being?

State or Civil Society? Civil Society as a site for governance facilitates public deliberation and problem solving by a range of actors (NGOs to social movements). People are invited to participate by various kinds of authorities, be they government supranational agencies or non-government organizations. State initiates participation (Participatory budgeting & local level planning). Strong state and a strong civil society are the needs to develop participatory democracy.

Theories of PG:

There are three theories which are influenced the participatory governance. Such as:-

  1. Liberal Democracy
  2. Neoliberalism
  3. New Institutionalist Communitarianism

1. Liberal Democracy:

Liberal Democracy is a political ideology and a form of government. Here, representative democracy drives under the principles of classical liberalism what is the branch of liberalism. The characteristics liberal democracy are:-

  • Fair, free and competitive elections
  • Separation of power
  • Protection of the rights and freedoms of the individual.

Criticism of Liberal Democracy:

In liveral democracy, representative democracy cannot work freely rather than limited by constitutional law.

2. Neoliberalism:

Neoliberalism is a liberal economic ideology and a form of government in where government transfers the control of economic factors from the public sector to private sector under the principles of neoclassical economics.

Criticism of Neoliberalism:

In neoliberalism, governmental economic issues have chanced to fall against private sectors.

3. New Institutionalist Communitarianism:

New Institutionalist Communitarianism or New Institutionalism or neo-institutionalism interactions the different institutions within society or civilization. How their dynamics, norms, rules define the behavior and act of individuals. It has come from the Old Institutionalism what is focused on state or government and their numerous law and practices which are practiced on citizens. New Institutionalist Communitarianism has three approaches. Such as:-

  • Sociological institutionalism
  • Historic institutionalism
  • Rational choice.

Criticism of New Institutionalist Communitarianism:

The New Institutionalist Communitarianism is the weakest when tries to explain the genesis and transformation of the institution.

Theory Origin Ideology Criticism
Liberal Democracy Liberalism Political Limited by constitutinal law and order
Neo-liberalism Neo-classical Economics Economic Decreased economic issues of public than private sector
New Insitutionalist Communitariarism Old Institutionalism Institution Weakest in the genesis and transformation of institution
Table: Theories of Participatory Governance
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