Community engagement and the social eco-system dance

Discussion Paper - July 2011

Much has been written about the relationships between policy makers, statutory bodies and 'below the radar' community groups. This literature focuses on the imbalance of power relationships, miscommunication and conflict.

In this discussion paper, Eileen Conn (Associate Fellow at TSRC) brings new insights into these relationships by drawing on complexity theory. She argues that spaces where the more organic eco-systems of the community world interact with the ordered world of power and authority create opportunities which are mostly missed. This unrealised potential may offer a way forward in the current policy climate.

The paper is intended to prompt debate via the TSRC website. Comments are welcome and should be sent to Eileen at and Angus McCabe.

This paper has been published as a chapter in the book: A. Tait and K. A. Richardson (eds), Moving Forward with Complexity, Litchfield Park, AZ:Emergent Publications. Reproduced with permission from Emergent Publications.