Participation and the State: Towards an Anthropological View of the “New Participatory Paradigms”


  • Kathy A. Riley University of Sussex


This paper reveals how certain academics approaching terms such as participation, or the state and civil society/community/masses/population, have re/conceptualized both the concepts themselves as well as the positions from which they can be studied. The paper traces the rise of critiques concerning participation in development - examining the particular issues of concern to anthropologists - before turning to the current debates taking place on the borderlines between anthropology and development. In this context, the work being produced as part of the Development Research Centre at the Institute of Development studies in the UK is a central focus. Raising here the types of questions currently being asked about participation, the analysis addresses increasing concerns with governance, democracy as well as citizenship, and finally, anthropological views of the State, for there appears to be an emergence within participatory development of a rejection of the anti-statist development approach.

Author Biography

Kathy A. Riley, University of Sussex

D.Phil Programme, Anthropology