Caring and Power-Sharing: How Dialogue Influences Community Sustainability
AbstractDialogue is a concept replete with great potentiality for the re-orientating process towards the more inclusive transformation of society, which indeed the Covid-19 pandemic has made even more urgent. This study verifies this statement, while also identifying the specific factors which have had a meaningful impact upon the engagement of people, embedded in their various communities. The undertaken research shows that these factors –related to the agents’ own role in the community, to their personal relationship with others and to their own perception of the general context– are interdependent and intersubjective. Indeed, feedback loops have emerged with an evident impact on the well-being of the community members and, therefore, of the community itself. The analysis of the data shows that a genuine dialogic culture, defined as a culture of acknowledging differences, embracing them with respectful openness and facilitating their expression through a non-hierarchical attitude, fosters positive feedback loops and, therefore, the development of sustainable communities. Communities, on the other hand, in which exclusion is tolerated place themselves in danger. The widespread reproduction of subtle discriminating practices, which were observed also in the framework of this study, remain thus alarming. Underlying the research design is indeed the formation process of international online communities in the context of an online simulation game. The crossmatching of the individual reflections of the members and the observation of their behaviour shows how their actions and interactions are entangled with handed down power structures, such as racism and sexism. Establishing an inclusive community implies therefore one fundamental condition: tackling the reproduction of power dynamics through conscious power-sharing.