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Based on these unanswered questions, we can argue that the three C’s represent a devolutionary or de-centralizing method and model of governance that can be highly ideological and elusive, and which, rather than addressing the core rural governance issues, focuses upon mitigating symptoms. In doing so, collaborative strategies are often implicitly part of a larger practice of neo-liberal governmentality where the state — provincial and federal governments — operates and governs at a distance, not pursuing many public goods, not delivering many services, and not doing much in terms of comprehensive development strategies, leaving a lot of space for private enterprise and individual responsibility. Yet at the same time, the state strictly holds the reins, keeping local communities governable and in line with a central ideology; keeping them small, rather powerless, divided, and unable to truly collaborate and reinvent rural governance towards sustainability. In the majority of cases, in which collaboration is a tool for neo-liberal prominence, goal dependencies of collaborative institutions are bound to remain weak, and truly regional governance is unlikely to emerge, unlikely to develop more powerful institutions towards sustainability. Collaboration can be harnessed and used thoughtfully towards sustainability, if disconnected from ideologies which reduce it to their own ends. When free from ideological constraints and agendas, new forms of collaboration can emerge as real problem solving tools, and lead to the reinvention of communities in their own terms.

5. Power/ knowledge Coming back to our tour of governance concepts, which will help us analyze and mitigate boom and bust in our own communities, we encounter the inevitable question of power. Governance is about collectively binding decisions, formal and informal, and always includes a variety of actors representing a variety of interests and perspectives. Getting anything done requires power, and governance decisions will always meet with resistance from some actors who think they didn’t get their fair share. Successful governance is about balancing interests. The “binding” in collectively binding decision-making is not always appreciated, and before the institutions which come about in governance are implemented, their formation is also a game of collaborating and competing power. In our treatment of power, we choose not to present it in isolation, but to discuss it alongside knowledge, as one element with two components. Interests and perspectives cannot be separated, and power and knowledge shape one another.

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Boom and Bust: a guide

Profile for University of Alberta Extension

Boom & Bust: A Guide, Managing Ups and Downs in Communities  

Boom and Bust: A Guide is the result of a collective effort at the University of Alberta to better understand the dramatic ups and downs whi...

Boom & Bust: A Guide, Managing Ups and Downs in Communities  

Boom and Bust: A Guide is the result of a collective effort at the University of Alberta to better understand the dramatic ups and downs whi...

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