Sarojini Hart, Caroline (2009). "Changing the balance of power: can education increase the chances of political participation for all?" Paper presented at the 6th annual conference of the HDCA, 10-12 September 2009, Lima, Peru.

This paper explores the conceptualisation of participation from both political and educational perspectives. It questions the assumption that increased participation in political processes by people from diverse groups will lead to a greater balance of political power. This assumption has tended to be coupled with the notion that broadening the scope of state education will overcome traditional socio-economic stratifications and will contribute towards the goal of shared political power. It is argued that participation in both educational and political processes does not guarantee greater power for marginalised socio-economic groups and furthermore affirmative action can cause harm as well as good. Striving to include the disempowered in political processes can mean these individuals unwittingly become complicit in their subjugation furthering longstanding injustices. It is vital that strategies to involve all citizens in the power structures of society acknowledge the cultural depth of stratifications and inequalities. Educational provision using a capability approach provides a starting point for developing citizens who may be able to begin to meaningfully address the political disempowerment of the poor and other marginalised groups. A range of global examples will be used to examine these issues and to consider how we can work towards meaningful political participation for all.