Participatory Sustainability - 2016

To enrol in this unit, you must be accepted into a course from the provider. Read before you start
This page is for past year, View 2017 unit details.

Unit summary


  • Level of Study: Postgraduate
  • Study load: 0.125 EFTSL
  • Delivery method: Fully Online
  • Prerequisites: No
  • Duration: 13 weeks
  • Government loans available: FEE-HELP
  • Availability for 2016: Sess 1
  • Assessment: Group Project (35%) , Journal (25%) - Learn more

Unit provided by

2016 Fees
Domestic 2,200.00
International 2,450.00

Participatory Sustainability provides a normative theory for a new worldview that trusts in high quality public deliberation to address complexity and arrive at a coherent way forward, relying on 'power with' (rather than 'power over') communities to co-decide and co-enact a more sustainable world. This unit focuses on the experience and possibilities of a renewed democratic system where representative democracy is augmented by deliberative democracy- descriptively representative participants (i.e. demographically representative of the broader population) deliberating together to arrive at a coherent voice which influences policy development and decision-making. The unit combines theory with practice, with practical participation a key feature. The aim is for students to learn a variety of deliberative democracy techniques used across the globe, such as: citizens' jury, deliberative poll/survey, and 21st century town meeting/dialogue. Students will work collaboratively to develop a joint participatory sustainability proposal that addresses a real life sustainability issue, taking into account the inherent tensions between social, cultural, economic and environmental goals.

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At the completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. critically reflect on and analyse participatory sustainability as an overall methodology to resolve sustainability issues,
  2. describe and apply deliberatively democracy, including public deliberations techniques as a pathway to participatory sustainability
  3. design collaboratively a deliberative processes to resolve a real life sustainability issue
  4. describe, contrast and evaluate possibilities for 'scaling out' deliberative democracy to involve more people, and 'scaling up' deliberative democracy to address complexity
  5. develop new and analyse existing ways to evaluate deliberative democracy processes and to institutionalize them
  • Group Project (35%)
  • Journal (25%)
  • Paper — Policy paper (40%)

There are no prerequisites for this unit.

  • Includes Placement

In order to enrol in this unit, you must be accepted into one of the following courses:

Please visit the course details page and read the Requirements tab for more information about eligibility.

This unit addresses the following topics.

1What is deliberative democracy?
2How can deliberative democracy foster sustainability?
3Changing power dynamics
4Framing the issues
5Maximising representativeness to achieve cognitive diversity
6Maximising deliberativeness to achieve an informed, considered outcome
7How to influence policy development and decision making
8Evaluating deliberative processes
9Institutionalising deliberative democracy

This unit is delivered using the following methods and materials:

Instructional Methods

  • Audio/Video conferencing
  • Blogs
  • Chat rooms
  • Discussion Forum/Discussion Board
  • Embedded Multimedia
  • Glossary
  • Online assignment submission
  • Podcasting/Lecture capture
  • Standard Media
  • Streaming Multimedia
  • Web links

This unit is a core requirement in the following courses:

This unit is an approved elective in the following courses:

This unit may be eligible for credit towards other courses:

  1. Many undergraduate courses on offer through OUA include 'open elective' where any OUA unit can be credited to the course. You need to check the Award Requirements on the course page for the number of allowed open electives and any level limitations.
  2. In other cases, the content of this unit might be relevant to a course on offer through OUA or elsewhere. In order to receive credit for this unit in the course you will need to supply the provider institution with a copy of the Unit Profile in the approved format, which you can download here. Note that the Unit Profile is set at the start of the year, and if textbooks change this may not match the Co-Op textbook list.
This unit does not have a prescribed textbook(s).

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