Dialogues in governance for sustainability

Last changed: 08 September 2021
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.
A city with a church in the autumn, photo.
Urban development in Uppsala is one of our cases. Photo: Pixabay.
A rickety bridge over a small lake, photo.
Water management in rural areas in Västmanland is another area we are looking at. Photo: Pixabay.
A sami woman with a white reindeer in the snow, photo.
We design power-sensitive and conflict-aware environmental communication. One case is land use planning in Sami territory. Photo: Anthony Randell, Flickr CC2.0.
Stacked logs outdoors, photo.
We study dialogue processes in forestry-related conflict management. Photo: Pixabay.

Researchers involved

Martin Westin, Researcher at Uppsala University and SLU
martin.westin@slu.se

Camilo Calderon, Researcher at SLU
camilo.calderon@slu.se 

Lars Hallgren, Senior Lecturer at SLU
lars.hallgren@slu.se

Alexander Hellquist, Facilitator at Uppsala University
alexander.hellquist@swedesd.uu.se

Annette Löf, Researcher at SLU
annette.loof@slu.se

Amelia Mutter, Researcher at SLU
amelia.mutter@slu.se

Kaisa Raitio, Associate Professor at SLU
kaisa.raitio@slu.se


Contact

Portrait photo of a man, photo.Martin Westin

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

Page editor: anna-maria.wremp@slu.se