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= Participation in collective economic and political decision-making



Commons Abundance Network:

"To ensure that their needs are met, it is essential that people can participate in the decisions that affect their lives. This page is devoted to methods and institutions to support such participatory decision-making." (


Mayo Fuster Morell:

"Participation is understood as an eco-system in six senses.

1) What is important is that the system is open to participation, but it is not expected that everybody participate and contribute equally;

2) Participation has multiple forms and degrees which are integrated: a critical mass of active developers is essential to initiate the project and maintain the content; weak cooperation enriches the system and facilitates reaching larger fields of information resources; and lurker or non-participants provide value as audience or though unintended participation that improve the system;

3) Participation is decentralized and asynchronous;

4) Participation is in public;

5) Participation is autonomous in the sense that each person decides which level of commitment they want to adopt and on what aspects they want to contribute.

6) Participation is volunteering. Participation is not only deliberation but implementation." (


Leida Schuringa:

"People may participate in groups, in their neighbourhoods and in society at large. They may contribute by performing paid work or volunteering. In neighbourhoods, people may be involved with housing planning, designing playgrounds, traffic, green provisions, youth facilities, and so on. Being involved in these activities can contribute to social cohesion and integration. In practice, we can distinguish three main categories of participation:

  • Horizontal participation refers to stimulating social contact between people living in communities, social cohesion and social inclusion. It is focused on involving different (groups of) residents and increasing the interaction between these.
  • Vertical participation refers to taking part in the formal decision making processes of (governmental) institutions and to the contact between (groups of) residents and workers of these institutions. Effective vertical participation is built upon well-organised horizontal participation. If residents don’t know each other or don’t cooperate, they cannot elect representatives to speak in their common interest.
  • Individual development. Many interventions and policies are meant to stimulate the individual participating in society by following courses about child care, being supported in financial problems, interconnecting people (becoming a “buddy”), attending school, having a job, visiting meeting places, learning Dutch, and so on."



Participation and Value Systems

Leida Schuringa:

"Participation is about being consciously involved in constructive processes in the community or society you live in. Life circumstances and related value systems determine one’s perceived possibilities for participating. The more complex the value system, the greater the degrees of freedom for participating appear to be. Each value system has its own perception of participation. Underneath you find our interpretation of participation in the different valuesystems or vMemes:

SurvivalSense (Beige): Is not aware of conscious participation

KinSpirits (Purple): Participation takes place in one’s own family/group, with roles and duties being largely fixed.

PowerGods (Red): Participation means connecting oneself to people, groups and organisations that can benefit, or increase power or pleasure for the individual. Interest is lost as soon as the attractive advantage or excitement falls away. It deals with impulsive and expressive involvement.

Truthforce (Blue): Traditional forms of participation fit into this value system. One is involved in civil society in institutions like church, clubs, associations or political parties and fulfils one’s duties.

StriveDrive (Orange): Participation is connected with education, work, making a career and cultural activities. People enjoy challenges and change but no long-term commitment. Participation has to lead to an individual gain, albeit a win-win.

HumanBond (Green): In this value system participation means being active as a volunteer in your neighbourhood, but also for the environment or humanity at large. As a world citizen you want to contribute to the bettering the world.

FlexFlow (Yellow): This system desires to create order in complexity through creating distinctions within, and new connections between systems, such that the whole system benefits. Through its awareness of the interdependence of systems, it sees that constructive participation can potentially take place within all levels and contexts in society.

In my opinion, each individual participates in his/her own way in society and gives his/her contribution to societal life, be it in constructive or destructive ways. For an effective functioning of society and the world, especially the constructive contributions are needed. The content, form and direction of participation will be coloured by the perspectives/value systems people use." (