9c. Public Participation and the Role of Stakeholders

Track chairs:

Alex Franklin, Coventry University, Coventry, United Kingdom. alex.franklin@coventry.ac.uk

János Balázs Kocsis. Department of Sociology and Communication. Budapest University of Technology and Economics. Budapest, Hungary. kocsisjb@eik.bme.hu

Agnes Zolyomi, Coventry University, Coventry, United Kingdom. agnes.zolyomi@coventry.ac.uk

Goals and objectives of the track:

Restrictions in access to, exclusion from, or depletion of local resources, and retained (or increasing) problems of energy poverty, environmental injustice and food insecurity, are just some of the consequences of the unsustainable patterns of living, production and consumption provoked by processes of globalization and uneven development. The addition of climate change brings further complexity, and also further vulnerability to this picture. In the face of such immense challenges, collaborative forms of stakeholder engagement and public participation - as highlighted through SDG-17 - are critical to the task of achieving a more sustainable future. 

Focusing in particular on multi-stakeholder and community-led forms of resourceful and resilient environmental practice, the goal of this track is to open up discussion and advance understanding of how to nurture the inherent potential of all local stakeholders to become involved in creating innovative, adaptive and transformative sustainability pathways.

A risk when establishing and sustaining a positive cycle of action is empowering the already empowered whilst further disempowering the already disempowered. In this track call, resilience is thus conceptualized as constituting the capacity of a stakeholder group to i) adopt just, inclusive and sustainable approaches to managing the local resource base; ii) respond to, learn from and move forwards in situations of crisis and high vulnerability; and iii) embed/ normalize practices of resourcefulness into everyday life. Accordingly, we invite contributions which, collectively, allow us to critically explore the capacity of a wide range of stakeholder groups - be they, for example of public, private or third sector representation; formally constituted or an informal gathering of friends, neighbours and types of community affiliate - as well as differing ways of operating - including working exclusively within a single place or simultaneously as part of a multi-location network; those reliant on physical action; and those achieving transformative change by harnessing the power of virtual mediums and online platforms - to make progress towards a more sustainable future. This includes, research relating to the production, consumption, management and/ or conservation of a full range of environmental resources (e.g. food, water, energy, land, minerals), ecosystem services, or to the broader and more fundamental intrinsic value of nature, in either urban, peri-urban or rural settings.     

Key interlocking themes and concepts which we would especially welcome engagement with by contributors to this track include (but are not restricted to): resourcefulness, resilience, coupled social-ecological systems, collaborative practice, sustainable place-making and environmental action. In exploring the various and interdependent layers of socio-cultural, economic and environmental value, meaning and identity which stimulate and/ or are nourished by stakeholder engagement in environmental action, we also encourage contributions which endorse creative methodologies, acknowledge the role of non-human animates, give emphasis to the emotional and affective dimensions of public participation, and/ or which endorse a transdisciplinary approach to research inquiry.