Socio-psychological dimensions of the participatory processes : in the case of the local government and NGO cooperation in participatory democracy project

Thesis Type: Doctorate

Institution Of The Thesis: Middle East Technical University, Turkey

Approval Date: 2012

Thesis Language: English

Student: Neslihan Kulözü



The transformation of the planning paradigm from rational comprehensive planning to participatory planning is commonly explained by the shift from instrumental rationality to communicative rationality. Based on communicative rationality, participatory planning approach has its own assumptions. One of the assumptions and pre-conditions of the realization of participatory planning practices is consensus-building. However, because of context-dependency of participatory planning processes, building consensus at the same level within every unique context is not possible. Therefore, comparing the participatory processes in terms of their success, which is commonly evaluated with standard success criteria in the literature, cannot be proper to participatory planning approach. Moreover, for the present study, exploring the factors affecting the participatory processes with a critical approach to increase the realization chance of participatory practices is more important than evaluating their successes. Focusing on the factors, affecting the participatory planning processes at interactional and socio-cultural levels, the thesis study aims to explore the socio-psychological dimensions of participatory processes that hinder and/or enhance them. To do that, the study poses three main research questions: ‘what are the socio-psychological dimensions of the participatory processes of Gazi, Kaymaklı, Odunpazarı and Seyrek?’, ‘how much do socio-psychological dimensions explain the success of participatory processes?’ and ‘how do socio-psychological dimensions explain contextually different participatory processes?’ To respond to these questions, the study was designed as case study and intended to pursue exploratory and quasi-experimental research approaches. As a result of the study, the research questions were answered in the case of the ‘Local Government and NGO Cooperation in Participatory Democracy’ project in the Turkish context.