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The term participation ( Latin participatio , “Teilhaftigmachung, Kommunikation”, from pars , “part”, and capere , “to catch, seize, appropriate, take, etc.”) is translated as participation, participation, participation, cooperation, co-determination, co-determination , Inclusion, etc.

Participation as a scientific term


In sociology , participation means the inclusion of individuals and organizations (so-called stakeholders ) in decision-making and decision-making processes. For reasons of emancipation, legitimacy, or for reasons of increased effectiveness, participation is often considered desirable. Participation can take on a wide variety of forms of participation (e.g. public participation , employee participation , interest group , political party ). Participation is considered to be socially relevant because it can lead to the development of social capital and then increases social trust .


In pedagogy , the term participation is understood to mean the inclusion of children and young people in all events and decision-making processes that affect coexistence. So z. B. House rules are negotiated jointly by child and youth welfare institutions and children are included in a decision on out-of-home care. When electing decision-makers in youth association work, voting rights are also given to those under the age of 18 so that they can participate directly in the decision-making process. Class representatives take part in the SV lessons and then report back to the other classmates.


In art , participation means the participation of the audience in a performance ( performing arts ) or in a work of art ( visual arts ). The watching itself and reactions such as clapping, laughing and boos can be viewed as participation, or the active involvement of the audience in the artistic process through calls for action. According to the art theorist Max Glauner , the former is characterized as an interaction , the latter as a cooperation in which the audience plays a key role in the creation of the work of art. Glauner describes participation in the emphatic sense as a co-productive factor in the creation of the work or the performance practice as collaboration .


In the 1960s the participation movement emerged in housing construction. It is a reaction to the monotonous apartment blocks of post-war architecture. A distinction is made between two types of architecture: on the one hand, “architecture” (including public buildings) and, on the other hand, “everyday architecture” (residential construction with participation), which in some cases is no longer counted as art. Important principles of participation in housing construction are: architecture as a semi-product for the individual interpretations of the residents (both inside and outside), structure and filling, integration of high and everyday culture in urban planning.


Political participation is generally the participation and involvement of citizens in political decision-making and decision-making processes. It is the subject of political participation research, in which, as a field of political sociology, sociology is also involved in addition to political science .

Definition, forms and influencing factors

Following Max Kaase, political participation is understood to mean all behavior of citizens who (alone or in a group) strive to influence political decisions at the various levels of the political system . There are numerous activities by citizens that are attributed to political participation. In the systematic recording of this through political participation research, a distinction is made, among other things, between written or institutionalized forms that correspond to legally regulated procedures and institutions such as political elections, political parties and trade unions, and non-written forms of participation. Another example of the differentiation between different forms of participation is that between conventional, i.e. established, customary and socially accepted forms of political participation on the one hand and unconventional forms of participation on the other. In addition to further criteria for recording and differentiating the numerous activities of political participation, participation research also differentiates between legal and illegal forms of political participation.

Conventional and institutionalized forms of participation that are easy to measure are voter turnout , participation in parties or interest groups, and taking on political offices in parliaments and governments . The less conventional, non-institutionalized or illegal forms of political participation are often less easily measurable, but are now also the subject of scientific research into political participation. Examples of less conventional and non-institutionalized forms of participation are political consumption , participation in citizens' initiatives or, more generally, in new social movements , participation in petitions , public discourses , demonstrations or strikes .






For executive, legislative, judicial, administration and citizens, residents, organizations, companies
(e- service public ) including:

Electronic voting

ICT systems

The Internet, and in particular the developments in Web 2.0 , enable so-called e-participation as a new, broad and at the same time individualistic form of participation that is independent of time and location.

Within political participation research, various theories and models compete for an appropriate description and explanation of the subject. For example, there are different perspectives and approaches for analyzing the political participation of women. In this gender-oriented consideration of political participation, various inhibiting or promoting factors such as the socio-economic situation, national political culture, individual political orientation, the “feeling of political competence”, advancement of women and simultaneous structural discrimination and gender-typical socialization processes are taken into account.

Further approaches

Within administrative science, the field of administrative ethics is developing, which focuses on opportunities for participation by both internal (e.g. employees) and external (e.g. citizens).

In companies (also in the sociology of work, economics, industry and organization, but also in relevant doctrines, e.g. business administration ), participation means the participation of employees in decision-making and will-making, also e.g. B. hierarchically higher set levels of the organization. In addition to employee participation, another option for participation in companies is to involve customers in decision-making processes.

Participation in neighborhood planning ; Gathering and experience with instruments: In Switzerland, the participatory process of participation is well developed, but not structured transparently. Different instruments are used depending on the canton. This ranges from political to economic to administrative instruments. In the canton of Basel, a new article on participation came into force on June 1, 2007 due to the constitution.

In the 1986 Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion, participation is mentioned as a key feature. In the meantime it has become an institutionally recognized principle of health promotion .

Participation is an important element of transformative research or transformative science. This is exemplified by the participation approach of real laboratories .

See also


  • Andrea Binder-Zehetner, Martin Heintel : Participation moves - citizens shape their city. In: Judith Fritz, Nino Tomaschek (Ed.): Movement. Contributions to the dynamics of cities, societies and structures. Waxmann, Münster / New York 2018 (= University - Society - Industry. Volume 7), ISBN 978-3-8309-3907-8 , pp. 27-38.
  • Brigitte Geißel, Virginia Penrose: Dynamics of Political Participation and Participation Research - Political Participation of Women and Men. In: gender ... politics ... online . September 2003. (online)
  • Harald Heinrichs: Culture Evolution: Participation and Sustainability. In: Jasmin Godemann, Gerd Michelsen (ed.): Handbook on Sustainability Communication. Basics and practice. Munich 2005, ISBN 3-936581-33-9 , pp. 709-720.
  • Ansgar Klein, Rainer Schmalz-Bruns (Hrsg.): Political participation and civic engagement in Germany - possibilities and limits. Federal Agency for Civic Education, Bonn 1997, ISBN 3-89331-295-1 .
  • Franz Kohout: On the value of participation. An analysis of participatory decision-making in environmental policy. Lit Verlag, Münster 2002, ISBN 3-8258-6511-8 .
  • Bernhard Kornelius, Dieter Roth: Political Participation in Germany. Results of a representative survey. Bertelsmann Stiftung publishing house , Gütersloh 2004, ISBN 3-89204-787-1 . (online) (PDF; 2 MB)
  • Jean-Pol Martin: Learning objective : ability to participate and network sensitivity. In: Guido Oebel (Ed.): LdL - Learning through teaching goes global: Paradigm shift in foreign language didactics and culture-specific learning traditions. Publishing house Dr. Kovac, Hamburg 2009, ISBN 978-3-8300-4096-5 , pp. 115-127.
  • N. John Habraken: The Porters and the People - The End of Mass Housing. The Hague 2000th edition in several languages, on participation in housing. (Original edition De Dragers en de Mensen - Het Einde van de Massawoningbouw , Amsterdam 1961).

Web links

Wiktionary: Participation  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Heinrich Georges: Comprehensive Latin-German concise dictionary. Volume 2, Col. 1489.
  2. Daniela Reimer, Klaus Wolf: Participation of children as a quality criterion for care child aid. (PDF) Foster and adoptive children Switzerland (PACH), archived from the original on March 29, 2016 ; Retrieved November 18, 2016 .
  3. Kunstforum international Vol. 240, June-July 2016, pp. 28f
  4. Karsten Polke-Majewski: Politics on the Net - When users co-rule: The Internet is not just a protest medium - it can also enable political participation. Three examples from digital Germany. In: The time. 24/2010, p. 11.
  5. Michael T. Wright: Participation: Codecision of Citizens (2016) . In: Federal Center for Health Education (Ed.): Key terms in health promotion - online glossary . doi : 10.17623 / BZGA: 224-i084-1.0 .
  6. transformative science