Dialogues in governance for sustainability

Last changed: 05 June 2023
A handshake outdoors, photo.

Dialogue-based governance is a promising way to involve actors from many perspectives. Yet, dialogue is challenging in the face of conflicts and power imbalances. We develop knowledge about power and conflict in participatory practices and design power-sensitive and conflict-aware environmental communication.

Governmental organisations often use dialogue-based approaches in governance for sustainability. The intention is to involve relevant actors that represent a variety of perspectives and positions – from businesses to landowners to activists and citizens – to ensure that policy interventions are socially legitimate and effective.

While dialogue processes are a valuable tool for inclusive, legitimate and effective governance, their implementation is often fraught with difficulties, usually due to challenges related to power relationships and conflict.

Designing power-sensitive and conflict-aware communication

Within MISTRA Environmental Communication, we translate recent research on power and conflict into participatory practices. Together with societal partners, we co-develop ways to design power-sensitive and conflict-aware environmental communication.

We work with the following cases:

  • Urban development in Uppsala
  • Water management in rural areas in Västmanland
  • Land use planning in Sami territory
  • Dialogue processes in forestry-related conflict management.

Dialogue and collaboration network

Within the focus area, a network has been created for those who want to develop sustainability dialogues. Read more about the network and sign up at slu.se/mistraec/natverkdialogsamverkan (in Swedish).

Researchers involved

Martin Westin, Researcher at Uppsala University and SLU

Camilo Calderon, Researcher at SLU

Lars Hallgren, Senior Lecturer at SLU

Alexander Hellquist, Facilitator at Uppsala University

Annette Löf, Researcher at SLU

Amelia Mutter, Researcher at SLU

Kaisa Raitio, Associate Professor at SLU


Portrait photo of a man, photo.Martin Westin

Researcher at SLU
Email: martin.westin@slu.se