From Stakeholders to Joint Knowledge Production Partners
The Participatory Development of Guiding Principles and Toolkit to Structure the Participation of Non-academic Partners in Academic Research
Keywords:Joint knowledge production, Participation, Power dynamics, Societal partners, Environmental communication
Academic research involving societal partners often approaches the latter as less knowledgeable, not possessing the skills and authority that the academic field has in producing legitimate knowledge. Still, several (academic) traditions have engaged in practices that destabilise the notion of the academia as the exclusive field of knowledge production, albeit not without inconsistencies between theory and practice. Building on this tradition, this article addresses the need to involve societal partners in the start-up phases of projects that aim for participatory knowledge production. Using (autho)ethnography this article reflects on the start-up phase of a research project on environmental communication, which involves a wide range of societal actors. It critically evaluates the participatory intensities of the start-up phase process which involved a series of collaborative decisions on how to structure participation, and reports on the outcomes of this process, namely a set of guiding principles and a toolkit aiming to foster and enable participation.
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