Indigenous voices and the making of the post-2015 development agenda: the recurring tyranny of participation

Charis Enns, Brock Bersaglio, Thembela Kepe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


This paper explores recent efforts to ensure the participation of indigenous peoples in the making of the post-2015 development agenda. It is based on an examination of the UN’s global consultation process, conducted between July 2012 and July 2013. Using discursive analysis of consultation findings and reports, we argue that the UN’s approach to participatory development represents a pretence rather than an actual shift in power from development experts to the intended beneficiaries of development. Therefore the post-2015 consultation process aptly illustrates the recurring tyranny of participation, this time at a global level, as the UN maintains control over global development goals. Recognising that it would be unjust to ignore the ability of marginalised groups to challenge the UN’s dominant narratives of development, we suggest that there is still time for indigenous voices to be heard in the build-up to the post-MDG era through ‘invited’ and ‘uninvited’ forms of participation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)358-375
Number of pages18
JournalThird World Quarterly
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2014


  • participatory development
  • post-2015 development
  • indigenous peoples
  • tyranny of participation
  • United Nations


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