Citizen participation, which is promoted by the New Public Management, conveys a high symbolic value. Citizen participation is generally associated with the consideration of others’ voices, recognition, emancipation, empowerment and well-being. In short, it carries the promise of a more just world with greater social solidarity and less hierarchic social relations. This paper proposes to leave aside this fashionable rhetoric, at least temporarily, and to search for what might have been left at its borders. This exploratory journey aims to reframe, within larger debates about democracy, the call for participation and its assumed or desired effects. The invitation to beware of losing, on the way, the radical nature of democracy, is issued.