Conflict and engagement: An empirical study of a farmer-extension partnership in a sustainable agriculture program [Book Review]

Stakeholder engagement is a crucial conceptof extension education. Engagement expressesdemocratic values of the land-grant mission byproviding opportunities for stakeholders to influenceprogram planning, including setting the agenda andnegotiating resource allocations. In practice, theconcept of engagement guides the formation ofpartnerships among extension, communities, industry,and government. In the area of sustainableagriculture, however, stakeholders may conflict,presenting challenges to the engagement process.Results from a study of a Canadian sustainableagriculture program, produced using culturalanthropology and participatory action research, detailchallenges of the engagement process that led toreconstruction of a farmer-extension partnership.Notable in the early phase of the reconstructionprocess were critical reflection, stakeholder forums,exclusion through caucusing, and coalition building.An argument for a neo-pragmatist view provides atheoretical basis for understanding counterintuitivedimensions of engagement revealed by the study.
Keywords adult education  engagement  farm planning  Ontario  participatory action research  partnerships  sustainable agriculture
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DOI 10.1023/A:1009555718724
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Amy Gutmann (1996). Democracy and Disagreement. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

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