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Performing partnership: invited participation and older people's forums
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-08, 11:58 authored by Elizabeth HarrisonElizabeth Harrison
The related ideals of "partnership" and "participation" are dominant motifs framing public policy in both northern and southern contexts. However, they have been subject to considerable academic critique, particularly from anthropologists. This critique has both practical and theoretical dimensions, including those that draw on notions of governmentality to argue that participation and partnership reflect and are constitutive of relations of power. This paper uses ethnographic research with older people's forums in the United Kingdom to engage with and refine such debates. In examining an example of "invited participation," I consider how its performative aspects may contribute to a sense among those invited that the "partnership" is meaningless or even disempowering. However, rather than suggest a simple opposition between the inviters and the invited, I argue for a nuanced understanding of the ways in which people come to be "partners" in which identities and interests are shown to be flexible and fluid.
PublisherSociety for Applied Anthropology
Department affiliated with
- Anthropology Publications
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