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Participation in Social Research: “Quijotism” or Construction of a World View?

Danilo R. Streck

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Participation has become a buzzword and lost much of its impact. Nevertheless, there are enough arguments to revisit the concept and its use in social research. One of them is that it is part of a tradition of action and participatory research which acquired specific features in different parts of the world. In Latin America it was, and still is, very much integrated with the idea of social transformation and democratisation of society. The question posed is how to avoid the pitfalls of either a romantic view of participation or a demagogical one. The article deals with some of the reasons to revisit participation, as well as some understandings, conditions and strategies for participation.

Keywords: participation, social research, participatory utopia, dialogue