Taking Care to Change Trajectory: Exploring an integrated process of Collective Narrative Practices and Strategic Sustainable Development

University essay from Blekinge Tekniska Högskola/Institutionen för strategisk hållbar utveckling

Abstract: Our research paper looks at the sustainability challenge as an example of complexity in interrelated nested systems (or meta-problem) and we further explore the consequences of disruptive events induced by climate change (ie. Extreme Climate Events). Due to their potential effects on adaptive capacities of systems at all levels (macro, meso and micro) and the need for Strategic Sustainable Development (SSD) to develop meta-solutions (non-isolated, non-reinforcing) we focus on community-based interventions and participatory facilitation processes. Therefore, we enquire what might a process look like that supports a community’s psychological resilience and strategic sustainable development following a disruptive event. A way to reinforce a community’s adaptive capacities is through making meaning collaboratively and such a process can be supported by the use of stories and narrative. To this intent, we focus on the use of Collective Narrative Practices (CNP) within the implementation process (ABCD process) of the Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development (FSSD). CNP promote desired narratives and strengthen communities’ psychological resilience while the FSSD ensures the development of meta-solutions and their practical application (through the ABCD). Throughout a five-step exploration, we test their theoretical compatibility, interview FSSD and CNP practitioners, design an initial Process Prototype, test its validity by interviewing practitioners with expertise in both fields, and develop a final Process Prototype which embeds recommendations, guidelines and tools. Finally, our paper initiates the academic study of the linkage between FSSD and CNP and is aimed to guide practitioners of both fields to discern an effective way to facilitate the emergence of appropriate responses in a community, while maintaining or rebuilding its resilience and complying with SSD core principles.

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