Introducing Citizen Participation in Health Systems

  • Ellen Stewart
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Science, Knowledge and Policy book series (SKP)


There is a broadly based consensus across the political spectrum that opportunities for citizen participation should be encouraged, as both an intrinsic ‘democratic’ good and a route to myriad benefits, from efficient public services to more cohesive communities. This is not new; writing in 1970s America, Pateman (1976, p. 1) said that the term had become so ubiquitous that ‘any precise, meaningful content has almost disappeared’. However, contemporary calls for participation differ, in important ways, from the radical demands of the 1960s and 70s. Polletta (2014, p. 457) argues that:

participatory institutions [of the 1960s] were seen as firmly outside the establishment. Today, they are the establishment. The arguments then for participation were principled. Today, they are practical … In an important sense, participatory democracy has gone mainstream.


Health System National Health Service Public Engagement Public Involvement Citizen Participation 
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Copyright information

© Ellen Stewart 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ellen Stewart
    • 1
  1. 1.University of EdinburghUK

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