This book shows how participatory government can lead to the unjust and illegitimate exercise of power. It addresses the gulf between the almost universally fashionable rhetoric of participation, promising empowerment and appropriate development. Looking at what actually happens when consultants and activists promote and practice participatory development, this book offers a sharp challenge to the advocates of participatory development. Some contributors look at particular examples of failed participatory practice; others present more conceptually-oriented analyses. Together they provide a new, rigorous, and provocative understanding of participatory development.