Changes need change: A psychosociological perspective on participation and social inclusion

Roberto Falanga


This article aims to contribute on the reflection concerning new political measures and complex social demands in democratic systems worldwide. On recognizing the growing fragmentation of social systems and the effects on both social and individual identities, political participatory mechanisms are required to assume the increasing diversity and inequality among social groups and actors in innovative ways. On the basis of my academic and on-the-field experience with participatory practices aimed at including civil society in policymaking processes, I have acknowledged that there is a widespread necessity to look at the ways the relationship between political institutions and citizens can change through participation. I support this view by making reference to some of the findings of my PhD Thesis concerning participatory processes and public administration which put a light on the necessity of social inclusion measures’ enhancement. Organizational and cultural embedding of public sector in participatory policymaking is a key issue in this article in that public policies represent complex chains of processes making sense of citizens and groups’ identities and activities. Participatory formulation and/or implementation of public policies cannot help but be related to relational patterning among social groups as well as between political institutions and societies. Understanding the multiple ways through which participation in policymaking can work in different political and social systems, the article proposes an in-depth reflection on the ways change can be achieved by public authorities. Supported by psychosociological theories and within an interdisciplinary approach, the final goal is that of opening the debate on the extents through which governments can effectively coordinate participatory processes towards inclusive goals. Indeed, political institutions are very unlikely to work out effective participatory processes without undergoing extensive cultural transformations and, therefore, ensure high impact on fragmented societies.


psychosociology; participation; change; social inclusion

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Rivista di Psicologia Clinica. Teoria e metodi dell'intervento

Rivista Telematica a Carattere Scientifico Registrazione presso il Tribunale civile di Roma (n.149/2006 del 17/03/2006)

ISSN 1828-9363