Public Participation: Social Capital, Democracy and Rational Choice Theories Review

Evandželina Petukienė, Rigita Tijūnaitienė, Alvydas Raipa


It was aspired to analyze the theoretical foundation of public participation invoking different theories explaining this phenomenon. Theses involve the most widely used theories as: Theory of Social Capital – because it is still the most popular foundation in solving participation problems; Rational Choice theory – because it has not only features of universal theory, but is successfully used in all behaviour sciences, and certainly explains measuring process (what it is the base of decision assumption in any individuals activity, in participation as well) of participation’s benefit and loss; Theory of Democracy – because it is treated as an essential assumption, the foundation to the further construct analyze and practical realization of participating ideas. Such an approach was taken, because there is no only one universal theory explaining the phenomenon of participation involving different attitudes. There are chosen different theories depending on context. Authors do not intend to generate such a theory, this is just assay to discuss the main theories, often over-passing limits of the other one, identifying problems, which hinder to shape an universal theory of participant foundation. There is confined from comprehensive public or participant concepts’ operationalization.


public participation; theory of social capital; theory of democracy; rational choice theory

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"Public Policy and Administration" ISSN online 2029-2872 / ISSN print 1648-2603