The concept of participation is experiencing its transdisciplinary heyday. This is not least due to a range of broad cultural and technological transformations that challenge established relations between e.g. media institutions and media users, citizens and authorities, companies and consumers, patients and health systems. However, participation is not only a descriptive concept that refers to actual social transformations, but also a normative ideal in several social fields and a strategic buzzword deployed to legitimize decisions and organizational changes. Therefore it is important to clarify how participation is actually practiced and researched across various disciplinary fields, and to discuss the value (or non-value) of acclaimed participatory processes.
The goal of the special issue is to clarify how various disciplines understand and use the concept of ‘participation’, and how they distinguish between participation, collaboration, cooperation, involvement, interaction, and co-creation. Furthermore, the aim is to investigate if and how it is possible to develop a common understanding of what participation is which can be deployed across the disciplines involved, while also taking into consideration the inherent complexities of participation.
To investigate these issues we invite researchers from various disciplines and faculties to present their take on when, where and how participation takes place. Papers might, for instance, investigate and theoretically develop a common conceptual language around participation, develop methodological tools to evaluate participation, or critically engage with cross-sectional problem solving.