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Palgrave Macmillan

The Promise of Participation

Experiments in Participatory Governance in Honduras and Guatemala

ISBN 9781137271839
Publication Date November 2013
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Series St Antony's Series

Political scientists have long wondered whether civic participation can have spillover effects – that is, whether civic participation in one particular domain of public life can lead to more participation in other areas. This book argues that participation can indeed be generative. New participants in participatory governance initiatives can acquire new skills, apply them to new areas of their lives, and join new organizations, even in very poor regions. The evidence is based on a large survey – among the broadest in its class – of participants in community-managed schools (CMS) in rural Honduras and Alta Verapaz, Guatemala, together with case studies and historical institutional analysis. This study is thus more optimistic about the promise of participation than other studies. While it recognizes that participatory arenas are often constrained by features of program design, local context, and national political problems, this book shows that participation is not a dead-end affair. Participation can breed new and unexpected forms of civicness, even in the most unlikely settings.

Daniel Altschuler holds his doctorate in Politics from the University of Oxford, UK, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar.
Javier Corrales is Professor of Political Science at Amherst College, Amherst, USA.

List of Tables and Figures
Preface and Acknowledgments
1. Introduction: The Promise of Participation
2. The Rise of Participatory Governance
3. The Rise of Community Managed Schools: Push and Pull Factors
4. Looking for Evidence: Survey Design, Methodological Issues, and First Clues
5. Stimulating Participation: Individual Inputs, State Inputs, and Context
6. The Case Studies: Field Work, Methodological Issues, and New Clues
7. Exogenous Factors and Spillovers: The Role of the State
8. Endogenous Factors and Spillovers: Time Commitment and Internal Democracy
9. Obstacles to Spillovers
10. Political Obstacles: Patronage and Polarization
11. The Impact of Patronage and Polarization on Participation and Program Survival
12. The Limits and Limitations of Spillovers
13. Conclusion


'In 'The Promise of Participation,' Altschuler and Corrales paint a rich, compelling picture of the impact of community managed schools on democratic participation in isolated communities in Guatemala and Honduras. Their use of statistical analysis to construct the framework and case studies to gain a deeper understanding of the underlying causal mechanisms and impediments to broader community involvement provides an outstanding example of mixed-methods research that weaves the quantitative and qualitative components together in complementary ways that raise the value of each.' - Steven Rivkin, Department of Economics, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA
This a remarkably useful study of one of Latin America's most radical education experiments - community managed schools (CMS). Rooted in theory and based on data, it argues that in Guatemala and Honduras CMS promoted democracy by strengthening the political capabilities of the poor. Few studies do such a great job of connecting micro to macro. - Jeffrey Puryear, Vice-President of Social Policy, Inter-American Dialogue, USA
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