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Inclusive community in a diverse world: Pursuing an elusive goal through narrative-based dialogue

How can we create spaces for building relationships where people restore integrity and justice and create sustainable communities in the century ahead? This 2001 article by Boyd Rossing and Michelle Glowacki-Dudka in the Journal of Community Psychology (Volume 29, Issue 6, pages 729–743) explores the theoretical aspects of using narrative and dialogue in the process of community building and presents the results of a local experiment.

Findings demonstrate the viability of this model, while experience in planning and conducting these dialogues reveals forces that emerge to shape the concept and practice and to take the effort in sometimes diverging directions. We explore two major tensions foreshadowed in theory and evident in our case.

The first tension lies between a search for coherence in contemporary discourse and a postmodern distrust for the silencing of marginal voices when such coherence emerges. The second tension lies between viewing talk and action as integrally related in community building versus viewing talk and action in opposition: one promoting inclusion of diverse views, the other promoting cohesion and commitment.

We conclude by highlighting the strengths of this model while acknowledging both limitations and alternative directions that may emerge.

Resource Link: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jcop.1045/abstract;jsessionid=980D93A5B5BD34E266E90684D7423497.f03t02?deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=&userIsAuthenticated=false

Link to request the PDF download: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jcop.1045/pdf

Rossing, B. and Glowacki-Dudka, M. (2001), Inclusive community in a diverse world: Pursuing an elusive goal through narrative-based dialogue. J. Community Psychol., 29: 729–743. doi: 10.1002/jcop.1045

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