Abstract

For the communication of food sustainability, the traditional approach of disseminating scientific knowledge from experts to citizens is limited in linking the experts’ knowledge with citizens’ actions: sustainability messages may cause negative effects, because citizens with different background knowledge, circumstances, and interests may ignore, misunderstand, or exaggerate the messages. To have citizens as proactive-creative partners and empower them with actionable knowledge, this study discussed different communication situations where sustainability knowledge is constructed in a participatory manner, between citizens and experts; the situations differ in the participants’ interdependency (no dependency–unilateral–bilateral) and communication goals (information–interests). In this paper, four types of sustainability communication activities—that arise from aforementioned situations—were illustrated: Education activities transfer information between participants in unilateral dependence relations. Understanding activities uncover information on participants’ circumstances and ambivalent interests for mutual understanding. Assertion activities let independent participants express various point-ofviews, without making agreements. Negotiations are making agreements between interdependent, interest-seeking participants, by exploring how participants’ assets are useful in achieving their conflicting goals. To facilitate the communication activities, multiplayer games, personalized recommendation systems, and online knowledge databases are suggested as potential directions of design interventions.

Keywords:

Food sustainability; Typology of communication; Participatory knowledge building

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COinS
 
Jun 16th, 12:00 AM

Communication of Food Sustainability: from Dissemination to Participatory Knowledge Building

For the communication of food sustainability, the traditional approach of disseminating scientific knowledge from experts to citizens is limited in linking the experts’ knowledge with citizens’ actions: sustainability messages may cause negative effects, because citizens with different background knowledge, circumstances, and interests may ignore, misunderstand, or exaggerate the messages. To have citizens as proactive-creative partners and empower them with actionable knowledge, this study discussed different communication situations where sustainability knowledge is constructed in a participatory manner, between citizens and experts; the situations differ in the participants’ interdependency (no dependency–unilateral–bilateral) and communication goals (information–interests). In this paper, four types of sustainability communication activities—that arise from aforementioned situations—were illustrated: Education activities transfer information between participants in unilateral dependence relations. Understanding activities uncover information on participants’ circumstances and ambivalent interests for mutual understanding. Assertion activities let independent participants express various point-ofviews, without making agreements. Negotiations are making agreements between interdependent, interest-seeking participants, by exploring how participants’ assets are useful in achieving their conflicting goals. To facilitate the communication activities, multiplayer games, personalized recommendation systems, and online knowledge databases are suggested as potential directions of design interventions.

 

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