Volume 48 Number 1A
Published: October 3, 2017
Contemporary interest in citizen engagement in public policy stems from a concern with the governance and quality of public service delivery, with improving the legitimacy of decision making and witharticulating the claims of those previously marginalised (Barnes and Bowl 2001; Newman 2001; Sullivan and Skelcher 2002). This article discusses recent research into the diversity of sites and practices of public participation in two contrasting English cities, Birmingham and Liverpool.1 It explores the perspectives of citizens and officials on participation and examines the construction of “the public”, the negotiation of legitimacy and how questions of difference and diversity are managed in spaces for participation. Our analysis reflects on issues of interaction and institutional design within forums for public involvement, the interaction between representative and participative democracy in the public policy field and how the tensions between representative and participative democracy are reconciled, or not.