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Psychosocial Intervention

versão On-line ISSN 2173-4712versão impressa ISSN 1132-0559


WIESENFELD, Esther  e  SANCHEZ, Euclides. Participation, poverty and public policies: 3P challenging community environmental psychology (the case of the communal councils in Venezuela). Psychosocial Intervention [online]. 2012, vol.21, n.3, pp.225-243. ISSN 2173-4712.

Participation, poverty and public policy are three relevant topics for the state, society and academy, particularly for environmental and community social psychology. Meanings and ways of addressing these topics by the above mentioned sector have varied across time and places. Recent impact of new governance models, such as participative democracy, has provoked changes in public policy modes of influence, as a strategy for poverty reduction. Such changes' orientations coincide with those of environmental community psychology, social constructionist theoretical perspective and qualitative methodology. In Venezuela, only Latin American country where participation has been given a constitutional and legal status, it is important to study participation's meanings and its implications in public management as a strategy for poverty reduction. Communal councils constitute the main community participatory structure, which integrates poor sectors and vehicles their requirements together with governmental entities. Conscious as we are of existing gaps between discourses and actions, the present research analyses official discourses on participation, through the Venezuelan Constitution and the Organic Communal Councils Law, and compares them with participatory meanings and experiences provided by communal councils' members and other community stakeholders' narratives. Results show differences between official and community perspectives on participation in communal councils, as well as discrepancies within communities: they also point out to the difficulties of state induced participation, as is the venezuelan case, for its protagonists' limitations for transcending projects and exerting power outside community boundaries.

Palavras-chave : communal councils; environmental community psychology; participation; participative democracy; social construccionism.

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