Problematising the processes of participation in networks : working through the rhetoric

Davis, Julie M. & Ferreira, Jo-Anne L. (2012) Problematising the processes of participation in networks : working through the rhetoric. Environmental Education Research, 18(5), pp. 687-697.

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Participation in networks, both as a concept and process, is widely supported in environmental education as a democratic and equitable pathway to individual and social change for sustainability. However, the processes of participation in networks are rarely problematized. Rather, it is assumed that we inherently know how to participate in networks. This assumption means that participation is seldom questioned. Underlying support for participation in networks is a belief that it allows individuals to connect in new and meaningful ways, that individuals can engage in making decisions and in bringing about change in arenas that affect them, and that they will be engaging in new, non-hierarchical and equitable relationships.

In this paper we problematize participation in networks. As an example we use research into a decentralized network – described as such in its own literature - the Queensland Environmentally Sustainable Schools Initiative Alliance in Australia – to argue that while network participants were engaged and committed to participation in this network, 'old' forms of top-down engagement and relationships needed to be unlearnt. This paper thus proposes that for participation in decentralized networks to be meaningful, new learning about how to participate needs to occur.

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1 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 48312
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: Taylor & Francis iFrist publication
Additional URLs:
Keywords: networks, environmental education, sustainability, partnerships, educational change
DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2011.643226
ISSN: 1350-4622
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES (050000) > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND MANAGEMENT (050200) > Environmental Education and Extension (050203)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > EDUCATION SYSTEMS (130100) > Education Systems not elsewhere classified (130199)
Divisions: Past > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 Taylor & Francis
Copyright Statement: This is a preprint of an article submitted for consideration in the [Environmental Education Research] © [2012] [copyright Taylor & Francis]; [Environmental Education Research] is available online at:
Deposited On: 30 Jan 2012 22:23
Last Modified: 30 Jun 2017 05:59

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