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Sustainable and Sustaining Communities: What Do We Need from Governance and Governance Research? Saskatoon, June 28, 2010 Michael Gertler Centre for the Study of Co-operatives University of Saskatchewan
Sustaining & sustainable communities Network for information, knowledge, allies. Create common ground and public spaces. Innovate socially and organizationally. Encourage diversity in perspectives, contributions, styles, projects. Develop individual and collective skills, competencies, and capacities.
Sustaining & sustainable communities Practice non-coercive forms of social integration/inclusion. Promote equitable participation, real partnerships. Insist on democracy, transparency, accountability. Celebrate shared leadership. Address need for local and regional linkage, coordination.
Sustaining & sustainable communities Share benefits and burdens, promote reciprocity, trust. Support holistic visions, goals, standards, regulatory frameworks. Nurture healthy people, lifestyles, livelihoods, organizations, networks, and institutions.
Research: a basic human activity We all study patterns, seek explanations, experiment, and evaluate alternatives. Knowledge is collective co-production; collaboration and co- operation are the high roads to advancement. Knowledge politics ubiquitous.
Why community-based governance research? Need trustworthy knowledge addressing gaps, divides, disinformation, governance failures, political deskilling. Knowledge privatization underlies economic and social inequalities, democratic deficits, power differentials.
Research focusing on… Organizations, community members Issues, initiatives, key campaigns, projects Networks, partnerships, movements Governments, policies, policy processes
Distinguishing features of collaborative governance research: Questions and approaches developed jointly. Collaboration in data collection, analysis, evaluation. Collaboration in elaboration of conclusions, recommendations, and responses. Interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary. Recognition and respect for multiple kinds & sources of knowledgefor multiple truths.
Collaborative governance research benefits: effective, democratic practices improved outcomes, reduced costs community- and organizationally- appropriate knowledge education, literacy, capacity identity, distinction, and renewal
Linked to reframing/reworking of… relationships between and among citizens & civil servants, organizations & communities goals, priorities, decision-making practices new forms of citizen engagement, participation, social integration… more inclusive and collaborative decision-making, better plans and policies sharing of initiative, power, controldemocracy
Towards a virtuous circle: Collaborative governance research Awareness, critical reflection, empowerment Situated (local) knowledge, real choices Appropriate organizations & policies Sustainable & sustaining communities
Barriers to researching governance: seen as politically/organizationally risky, unpredictable, expensive, low-return activity lack of channels for proposing, mandating, organizing, funding research lack of experience re conceptualizing, designing, interpreting, critiquing research narrow conceptions re research approaches, benefits
Use co-generation of knowledge as a mark of distinction. See governance knowledge as relevant and important for everyone. Study their own history, context, dynamics. Use research and research partnerships as strategic development tools. Knowledgeable Communities:
We urgently need to recover peoples wisdom and turn it into a potent force for emancipating the rest of humanity…Saving the world from technological and spiritual destruction depends on transforming it into a human sphere of life where community and critical consciousness thrive. (Park 1993, Voice of Change: Participatory Research in the United States and Canada, p.19).
Some questions… Can we strengthen our organizations and communities via collaborative governance research? Are there examples of communities and organizations that have transformed themselves through new governance practices?