By William Boyce
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Extra resources for A Seat at the Table: Persons with Disabilities and Policy Making
An additional core consideration in the political-economic view is the legitimation of different groups as participants in decision-making. Theories of political economy are generally concerned with the influence of broad economic and political factors on the role of the state and its actions (Dahrendorf 1959, O'Connor 1973). Theories differ on the basis of their views of the role of the state in a class society. In Dahrendorf's view of class structure, post-capitalist society has a new middle class, increased social mobility, and more equality between classes.
More recent formulations have incorporated Gramsci's concept of hegemony, according to which the dominance of a group rests upon its ability to translate its own world view into a pervasive ethos (Femia 1985). In the context of disability, the hegemonic notion of able-bodied dominance has been pervasive. In these recent views, power is not an object (which can be possessed), but is a medium or process through which social relations involving conflict are expressed (Giddens 1979). 26 A Seat at the Table It is essential to distinguish between the terms influence and power.
Overall, a perspective on participation that recognizes a variety of structural dimensions, the role of human actors, and the importance of power appears to be needed for illuminating the process of citizen participation in policy development. 27 Theoretical Frameworks for Citizen Participation TOWARDS A DEFINITION OF CITIZEN PARTICIPATION Considering the variety of possible analytic perspectives on this field, it is not surprising that there are numerous definitions for citizen participation. The challenge is to select or develop definitions that are consistent with the assumptions of the study.