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TitleListening to the public: enacting power: citizen access, Standing and influence in public participation discourses
Author(s)Carvalho, Anabela
Pinto-Coelho, Zara
Seixas, Eunice Cristina Nascimento Castro
KeywordsPublic participation
Critical discourse analysis
notice and comment
Issue date2019
PublisherTaylor & Francis
JournalJournal of Environmental Policy and Planning
Abstract(s)Public participation in environmental governance is typically associated with citizen access to power despite many closures and limitations having been identified in participatory processes. This article proposes an analytical framework to analyse discursive practices involved in public consultation processes. Critical Discourse Analysis is used to examine and appraise citizens’ access, standing and influence. We apply that framework to a ‘notice and comment’ process on a hydroelectric power plan in Portugal and show that it was discursively managed to justify the decision of constructing 10 large dams and to reject critical or alternative views. Citizens’ access, standing and influence were constrained through diverse discursive practices which (re)produced very unequal power relationsbetween policy proponents and participating individuals. More generally, the article illustrates the potential of Critical Discourse Analysis to assess voice(s) in policy processes. Focusing on argumentative, interactional and rhetorical levels, and how they are interwoven in public consultation discourses, the proposed framework is conceivably applicable in other studies.
DescriptionPublished online: 22 Mar 2016
Publisher version
AccessRestricted access (Author)
Appears in Collections:CECS - Artigos em revistas internacionais / Articles in international journals

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