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Dialogue: A promising vehicle to steer transformative local change towards more sustainable communities?

Authors
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Ratzmann,  Nora
IASS Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies Potsdam;

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Hüncke,  Anna
IASS Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies Potsdam;

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Plessing,  Julia
IASS Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies Potsdam;

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Citation

Ratzmann, N., Hüncke, A., Plessing, J. (2021): Dialogue: A promising vehicle to steer transformative local change towards more sustainable communities? - Journal of Dialogue Studies, 9, 189-209.


Cite as: https://publications.iass-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_6001483
Abstract
This paper reflects on how, and under what conditions, dialogue can contribute to local transformative change towards climate neutrality, based on the case of the German city of Marburg, which has engaged in a collaborative governance process to steer climate mitigation since 2019. The research findings are drawn from the work of the Franco-German Forum for the Future established in 2020, which applies a collaborative research approach to facilitate dialogue among states, citizens and the economy with the aim of fostering learning, mutual understanding and collaboration for an inclusive socio-ecological transition. Accordingly, dialogue plays a central role in both the objectives and methodology of our work with the city of Marburg. Central to the Forum’s approach are different forms of tailored dialogic engagement, including reflection sessions with our research partners, interviews and theme-based peer-to-peer dialogues between various local initiatives to create space for experience-sharing and knowledge transfer. In this paper, we show how dialogue can create spaces for self-reflection in which stakeholders can recognize some of the structural barriers of designing and implementing local climate policy. The findings of this work offer insights into how multi-stakeholder exchanges can ease conflict in working relationships by making divergent role understandings and institutional constraints more explicit. We also reflect on the framework conditions under which dialogue can enable collaborative implementation of local policies.