Cornwall introduces us to the first section of this article by presenting different typologies of participation. The typologies presented here give different perspectives into the extent and the types of participations involved in community development projects. They focus of the approach and the intentions of the person initiating the participation. Cornwall presents three typologies in this article; Arnstein’s (1969), Pretty’s (1995) and White’s (1996) typology of participation. Arnstein’s (1969) ladder of participation is the common form of participation which focuses centrally on the citizen control where the citizens are at the receiving end. Pretty’s (1995) typology of participation is characterized by a wide range of participation approaches varying from manipulative, passive participation to functional participation. This typology is commonly manifested in development participation (Rudqvist and Woodford-Berger, 1996). White’s participation typology departs from the earlier two as it is concerned with issues of different interests at stake in various forms of participation. It offers insights as to the conflicts in ideas which arise from issues of why or how participation is being used at any particular stage in a process.
The second point addressed by Cornwall is the participation in practice. This article notes that all the typologies discussed can be used indistinctively, with a very blurred boundary, in the same project. The article presents the merits and demerits of engaging in public participation in development projects. Participation can be responsible for sparking popular engagement on issues affecting their lives by giving the participants a voice and a platform for airing their grievances (Cornwall, 272). On the other hand, the intended beneficiaries may choose not to participate in the course intended for their own benefits. Cornwall also