2019-11-07Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.3390/su11226239
Conflict Causes and Prevention Strategies at the Society-Science Nexus in Transdisciplinary Collaborative Research Settings
A Case Study of a Food Security Project in Tanzania
Collaboration between researchers and society is essential when addressing challenging 21st Century questions. Such collaboration often comprises international, inter- and trans-disciplinary teams, as well as temporal constraints, resulting in inherently complex research projects. Although practitioners increasingly appreciate the value of bottom-up approaches, operational details are often overlooked. Further knowledge is necessary, especially about what might endanger project success. Using a food security project, this paper analyzes conflict experiences and prevention strategies between project members and local stakeholders through personal interviews and focus group discussions. Data for this case study was collected in four Tanzanian villages. This paper identifies multiple conflict drivers, including missing information transfers; diverging expectations; overlaps of field activities with seasonal farming activities; and obscure participant selection. Identified conflict prevention strategies include developing trust, reducing language barriers, and involving locals. Research practitioners, institutes, and hegemonic actors are responsible for ensuring that projects will not worsen the entered situation and negatively affect the community, adhering to the “do no harm” principle; therefore, it is vital to be aware and seek to improve international and collaborative research projects that actively involve local stakeholders. This paper supports the understanding of interacting with local communities in a food security context to support the development of innovative collaboration approaches and methods. Through collaboration, it is possible to find sustainable solutions to pressing issues.
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