Participation and decision-making at community development meetings: An appraisal of a subtle style in Luganda

  • Merit Kabugo Department of Linguistics, English Language Studies and Communication Skills, Makerere University
Keywords: Participation, meeting, decision-making, evaluation, discourse


This paper is based on corpus data from a study that was conducted in Uganda by the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions (CRED). Using a multi-perspective approach to spoken discourse analysis, the paper discusses the manifestations and patterns of participation and decision-making as they emerge through evaluation and appraisal in the context of participatory community development processes. Taking the discourse of farmer group meetings as a genre of business meetings, the paper explores how participants use Luganda to express assessment and make decisions during interactive discourse. In this paper, I discuss the manifestations of the subtle decision-making style, which demonstrates a culturally constructed concept of participation in Luganda. I refer to this culturally unique discursive process as the non-explicit style of participation and decision-making. The main characteristic of subtle decision-making discussions is that participants reach a consensus or take a spontaneous implicit group position on a matter without anyone formally announcing the decision.