Collaboration in Communities of Difference

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Seaton Patrick Tarrant (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:
Jeff Boyer

Abstract: While there is considerable research devoted to methods of collaboration and participation in the community development literature, few have taken up the analytical project of discovering where collaboration exists in a community situation prior to the influence of outside interests attempting to promote collaborative methods. Likewise, few have assessed how this collaboration, should it exist, can be enriched by sustainability practices. I propose that collaboration exists in communities through a process that incorporates difference and builds community resilience. I investigate the possibility of achieving community resilience through collaboration at the scale of individuals, associations, and institutions (Kretzmann and McKnight, 1993). I examine the communication processes that facilitate and underlie this collaboration in community response, recovery, and resilience to disaster. Data from ethnographic research in community recovery to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in Louisiana are analyzed. Drawing from planning, community development, disaster, and political philosophy literatures, this research assesses the ongoing implementation of recovery and sustainability efforts at the grass roots. I also reflexively privilege local contexts by carrying out what I consider to be a first step in community collaborative research: the inclusion of qualitative data sets as indicators of wellbeing. The methods of sustainability practitioners, community builders, and natural hazards analysts meld in specific disaster contexts, informing a theory of collaboration as a process that is built upon difference and a willingness to communicate the value of this difference in light of a specific need. Finally, utilizing Charlotte Davies’ reflexive ethnographic methodology (1998), I apply the insights from my Louisiana analysis to community assessment and community building practices in my hometown of Boone, North Carolina.

Additional Information

Tarrant, S.P. (2010). Collaboration in Communities of Difference. Unpublished master's thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2010
Community, Collaboration, Communication, Political Ecology

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