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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

1
The Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research ZALF e.V., 15374 Müncheberg, Germany
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Section Urban Horticulture, Institute for Horticultural Science, Humboldt University Berlin, Lentzeallee 55-57, 14195 Berlin, Germany
3
Department of Agricultural Economics, Humboldt University of Berlin, Rudower Chausee 16, 10099 Berlin, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(22), 6239; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11226239
Received: 20 September 2019 / Revised: 3 November 2019 / Accepted: 5 November 2019 / Published: 7 November 2019
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: collaborative research; local stakeholder; food security; collaboration conflict; conflict prevention strategies; sustainable development; transdisciplinary; Tanzania collaborative research; local stakeholder; food security; collaboration conflict; conflict prevention strategies; sustainable development; transdisciplinary; Tanzania
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Schütt, J.; Löhr, K.; Bonatti, M.; Sieber, S. 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. Sustainability 2019, 11, 6239.

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