‘participation and empowerment are inseparably linked, they are different but they depend on each other to give meaning and purpose. Participation represents action, or being part of an action such as a decision-making process. Empowerment represents sharing control, the entitlement and the ability to participate, to influence decisions, as on the allocation of resources’.
White (1981) identified that empowerment grows out of involvement in thinking, planning, deciding, acting and evaluating. Because empowerment refers to control, words commonly found in definitions include access, control, entitlement, deciding, enabling, acting, awareness, and participation (Holcombe 1995). An example of such definitions are:
‘the idea that some can act on others to give them power or enable them to realize their own potential’ (Nelson and Wright 1995) page 7.
‘in simple definitional terms, the verb to empower means to enable, to allow, or to permit and can be conceived as both self-initiated and initiated by others. For social agents, empowering is an act of building, developing, increasing power through cooperation, sharing and working together. It is an interactive process based on a synergistic, not a zero-sum, assumption of power; that is, the process of empowerment changes the power in the situation as opposed to merely redistributing it’ (Vogt and Murrell 1990, cited in (Chamala 1995) page 11).
Citing this article
This report was prepared for Social Capital Research. You should reference this work as:
Claridge, T., 2004. Designing social capital sensitive participation methodologies. Report, Social Capital Research, Brisbane, Australia.
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