Engaging in Social Partnerships: Democratic Practices for Campus-Community Partnerships

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Nonspecific Binding
  • Copyright: 2015-02-23
  • Publisher: Routledge

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If many Higher Education partnerships that involve diverse groups fall short of achieving success, how can partners overcome the common barriers and promote equity in the process?This text is written for Higher Education Professionals who are actively engaged in collaborating with communities or organizations. Engaging in Social Partnerships prepares professionals to become reflective practitioners while working in partnerships that cross social divides. An invaluable resource, it helps partners navigate the multiple and conflicting objectives that arise in partnership practices. It further encourages the reader to enact practices that are more equitable and democratic. In order to be successful in these partnerships, professionals must look carefully at how they are influenced by factors such as race, class, gender, age, culture, histories and other differences. Unequal power relations prevailing in such partnerships affect the ability to share information, problem solve and form honest relationships. Unless these 3 essential components are properly addressed, the partnership will not be successful in achieving its overall goal.The author, Novella Keith, breaks down the different approaches to partnership and connects the central principles of her approach through reflection and case studies. These case studies illustrate the conceptual framework for successful partnership practice.This book:Provides action oriented solutions for meeting partnership goalsDevelops frameworks and principles against which to assess partnership, process and outcomeProvides a new model of democratic engagement for university-community partnershipsPresents key concepts that can be applied to a critical analysis of practiceArmed with this book, professionals will be equipped with the knowledge on how to apply successful models of practical democracy in their partnerships.

Table of Contents

The book is divided into three parts. Part I (3 chapters) sets the context. It introduces the scope of and rationale for the book, ways to think about partnerships, the various contexts that influence partnerships, and some of the inquiry tools we can use to become better partners. Part II (4 chapters) presents and analyzes cases that highlight different aspects of partnerships and issues that need to be addressed in the process of becoming partners. Part III (1 concluding chapter) provides a retrospective look on what has been learned and highlights key issues for ongoing discussion. The book concludes with resources (selected annotated list of books, journals, films, organizations, and websites), bibliography, and index.Part I: 3 chaptersIntroduction: what the book is about and what readers can expect to learn; how the book is organized; how to use it.Part One: Talking, Thinking and Learning in Partnerships (3 chapters)Chapter 1. Talking about partnerships: common discoursesIt is not self-evident what partnerships mean, why they are called into being, and how they can work best. The chapter presents three common ways to talk about partnerships ("partnership discourses"): to create flexible organizational structures that maximize effectiveness in complex, competitive, and fast-changing environments (the neo-liberal discourse); to share (scarce) resources in order to improve products or services (the efficiency discourse); to bring together parties in order to create a common ground as the basis for pursuing common goals (the community discourse). I illustrate these discourses through mini-case studies and examples and also discuss their assumptions and the contexts for their development (historical, socio-political, institutional and interpersonal). Generally, these discourses do not address partnerships in terms of their democratic and ethical possibilities.Chapter 2. Talking about partnerships: uncommon discoursesThis chapter presents three alternative discourses that are more closely aligned with the democratic and ethical possibilities in partnerships. The civic engagement discourse sees partners as citizens taking responsibility for the commons by working together on social, public, or community issues. The discourse of democratic community is about working together to create human communities where differences are voiced and respected. Finally, the community organizing discourse reminds us that partnerships are not a given and that we must consider those instances when subaltern would-be partners need to struggle in order to gain a place at the table. As with chapter 1, mini-cases studies and examples illustrate and ground the discussion of these partnerships and their contexts. The chapter highlights key concepts and practices whose applications would lead partnerships in democratic and ethical directions.Chapter 3. Thinking in partnershipsHere I present approaches that can help students and other practitioners practice in partnership and become partners. These include understanding self and others, critical reflection (which involves skills of observation and analysis and informed ethical action), organizational analysis, and field-based data collection. The chapter focuses specifically on key concepts that serve as lynchpins for reflection, analysis, and action, including power, otherness/difference, communication across difference, voice, social justice, capacities, limits and possibilities in historical moments and in organizations, and ethical action. These are illustrated by reference to the previous two chapters.Part Two: Becoming partners: Knowledge into action (4 chapters)Each chapter in Part II centers on one major concept and related concepts, which are discussed in the context of the partnership discourses introduced in Part I. The major concepts are power, commun

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