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(Re-)negotiating access: The politics of researching skills and knowledge for ‘sustainable communities’

Newton, Julie, Franklin, Alexandra, Middleton, J. and Marsden, Terry Keith ORCID: 2012. (Re-)negotiating access: The politics of researching skills and knowledge for ‘sustainable communities’. Geoforum 43 (3) , pp. 585-594. 10.1016/j.geoforum.2011.12.003

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The last decade has witnessed a surge of interest in ‘sustainable communities’ within the UK. This has stimulated a plethora of research aimed at acquiring a better understanding of what ‘sustainable communities’ might look like and how they can be achieved. However, this has not been accompanied by a reflection and interrogation of the actual processes, challenges and politics of doing ‘sustainable communities’ research. This paper addresses this gap by highlighting the importance of paying attention to the on-going process of negotiating access when carrying out sustainability research at the community level. We draw on a recent study of skills and knowledge for ‘sustainable communities’ in Stroud Gloucestershire, UK, to illustrate the importance of sensitivity to social relationships throughout and beyond the research trajectory within sustainability research. Our experience raises important questions about the politics of research practices when doing sustainability research ‘with’ communities and the challenges associated with participatory approaches as a means to demonstrate research impact. We argue that in developing a fuller understanding of why and how different types of community level initiatives can contribute to the ‘sustainable communities’ agenda, greater consideration needs to be given to how these community practices can be better supported through the process of doing academic research.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Centre for Business Relationships, Accountability, Sustainability and Society (BRASS)
Sustainable Places Research Institute (PLACES)
Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sustainable communities; Research methods; Reflexivity; Research access; Research impact
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0016-7185
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2022 08:39

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