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10月份對話訊息: 尋找公眾參與的轉機 / Dialogue Newsletter: "Transitions in public engagement"

「重思社區營造的困境,尋找公眾參與的轉機」

作者:方雅慧
成功大學人文社會科學中心博士後研究員、光禾華德福教育實驗機構 執行長

社區營造可謂台灣十多年來最為廣泛的草根運動,其承接八年代民間社會廣泛要求參與與覺醒的社會力,在解嚴之後,更寬廣地拉開「參與」的行動,以有別於外發的、對抗的社會運動型態,從街頭示威轉進入社區和社團,以更細緻綿密地切入日常生活之中,形成地方公共領域。此蘊含著在「社區參與」理想的運動訴求在萌芽階段,正巧銜接1994年文建會以社區總體營造作為文化建設之主要方向,之後更以「社區協力政策」為觀點形成跨部會政策支持社區工作。

經過20個年頭回頭檢視,有些案例確實在短期看見改變,但從長期的社區發展角度來看,卻可能面臨諸多內外部的檢驗:一個由社區居民參與打造的社區公園或溼地,被社區內部不同派系視為是「政治籌碼的角力」,除之而後快。甚至到後來兩造雙方對簿公堂,在台灣各地不乏類似的情節。在地方上,也常有一種社造的常識判斷:「里長與發展協會若是同一個人,那社區可以動起來」。或者社區因為具有連結外部網絡能力的領導者而紅即一時,但卻也因為改選而整個社區組織動能不復以往。還有社區工作的相關專業者,和社區以一種交易關係,代理國家資源與社區之間的中介,但也常在計畫結束,人抽手之後,社區無力延續。

直至今日,社區工作的參與過程一直是高度政治性的展現,不同來源的權力在此相互競合,唯有辨認政策治理與地方社會關係、專業介入互動的本質,才有辦法從困境中找到出路。

從政策治理面向觀之,「由下而上」的草根觀點一直受到政策思維間牽制,以透過資源的分配,改變了「民眾參與」的本質,同時強化執政者治理的正當性;然而,相對於公部門,在地草根社團也可以藉由要求「參與」宣稱來激勵民眾團結,以活化及激發早期集村與集居經驗的合作機制。重點在於政策治理的思維,是否能突破「上對下」的控制觀點,以及過程中社區主體所置在的公民處境。

在推動社區工作的同時,工作者因協助社區發展而介入社區,其實也影響社區內部對於議題參與與論述競奪的權力關係,這不但是關乎地方公共事務的權益而已,也動輒牽動在地不同派系(利益團體)之間的社會關係。所以就工作者的專業實踐,也須進一步檢視專業實踐過程是否促進「知識與權力的下放」,陪伴社區建構能力與增能,並於過程目標與計畫目標當中,調節社區承載的能力與節奏。也因此,工作者與社區須小心引介與運用社區計畫的方案資源,避免引介的公共資源落入私有化運作,甚至需持續營造社區內部針對公共議題的溝通平台,以讓社造工作能夠改變地方派系伺從化治理的進步力量,朝向奠定民主的生活方式著力。

困境之所以產生,體現了社區在推動社區營造所震盪出來的結構性課題,但也再次指明契機之所在:社區走向永續發展,不可忽略在真實情境中創造轉化學習的過程。MattessichMonseyRoy即發現高社會能量與社區永續發展間的正向關係:一個社區能夠永續發展,或者是達到某種階段性的成功社造經驗,關鍵在於該社區在持續推動社造的過程中,累積了一定程度的「社會能量」(Mattessich, Monsey & Roy,1997)。他們也整理出三大向度共28個指標之「社會能量」指標,分別為社區的特質,包括所在社區的社會、心理和地理上的特質,以及其居民投注在社造工作上的努力;社區營造進行過程的特質,包括人們試圖建構社區「共同體」感的各種流程(代表性、溝通和技術支援);以及社區工作者的特質,係指組織社區工作或是領導社區營造之工作者特質,包括使命承諾、信任、理解和經驗。

Mattessich, Monsey & Roy所建構社區能量指標當中,其中「社區的特質」特別重視社區內部與組織成員的關係,強調討論、共識合作與社群領導;「社區營造進行過程的特質」列舉了重要的流程因素與相應的制度設計,必須能夠促成參與、自我認識與增能,以及成果滿足多數居民的利益。「社區工作者的特質」是關於來自社區內外部、投身社區營造的行動者個人,扮演著促進變革的「關鍵酵母」,而個人需要透過自我教育與學習歷程進行價值轉化。

質言之,社區營造的核心,在透過事工(社區參與),創造人心的改變(造人),這強調歷事練心的作為,也正是創造民眾參與所必須經歷的過程。這改變得從個人的學習轉化(尊重與包容異己,從追求私利至尋求共善;專業工作者更須持續反思專業角色與專業實踐,肯認在地經驗知識)、社會關係的修補與社群生活的重建(伺從關係的轉型,以民主精神經營社區公共生活)、制度(建立促進廣泛參與與增能的社會性流程與機制)與文化(塑造共存共榮的民主生活方式),四者或有循序漸進,但卻不可或缺。省視目前社造的困境,或可讓我們回到投入社區營造的初心,盤點與梳理現有的社區能量狀態,並從個人、關係、制度與文化面向建構公眾參與的品質與機制。

Reconsidering community building challenges and transitions in public engagement

By Fang Ya-Hui (方雅慧), 

Post-doc researcher at the National Cheng Kung University Research Center for Humanities and Social Sciences; and CEO of the Kuang He Waldorf Educational Experimental Institute

Community building has been Taiwan’s most widespread grassroots movement for decades.  Stemming from the 1980’s, the public generally felt a growing awareness of a need for social engagement.  When martial law was lifted in 1987, public engagement moved beyond protest activism.  Street demonstrations became communities, and a vibrant local public domain emerged in daily life.  In 1994, the Council of Cultural Affairs (now the Ministry of Culture) identified comprehensive community development as a core policy direction and based future policies on the goal of “community empowerment”. 

Looking back over the past two decades, short-term changes were achieved but long-term community development also faces internal and external challenges; for instance, community parks and wetlands built by engaging community groups were often perceived as power struggles between interest groups.  Sometimes conflicts of interest became legal disputes.  Because these similar issues occurred across Taiwan, it became commonly felt that having a borough chief and the head of community development committee as the same person would improve community mobilisation; or perhaps the community has connections to an external network of capable leaders and at elections the community organisation is looking for something different from the past.  In other cases community building activists serve as agents between the community members and their shared resources, meaning that as projects subside so does community activity.

Even today, the engagement process in community work is highly political.  Resolving conflicts requires understanding the relationship between policymakers and social interactions in the community and mediating the interaction with professional assistance.  

Policy tends to use a top down approach to grassroots governance, framing citizen involvement in the context of resource distribution while also legitimising the role played by policymakers.  Grassroots communities can also build citizen cohesion through requests to participate and using collaborative mechanisms that werepreviously developed among community members. The key questions are whether it is possible to break through the traditional “top down” thinking and if so, what is the role of citizens in this process.

In the process of promoting community building, involvement by practitioners affects the issues being discussed as well as the power relationship in the group.  How the process is designed affects both the rights to participate in public issues and the relationship among different interest groups.  Professional practitioners therefore should ensure the process leads to grassroots empowerment of knowledge and power to build the strength of communities.

Process goals and outcome goals should match the competence and pace of that community. The community and the practitioners must be extremely careful in the use of resources to avoid to ensure a fair share across the community.  Maintaining a platform for discussions of public issues will help community building to become a force for enabling the community to grow and transform into a more democratic mechanism.     

These challenges reflect a structural issue that surfaced in the community building process, but they also point to new opportunities: communities need support to sustain their development.  When the community reaches a self-sustained development or when the community building work has reached a certain degree of success, a keys to ongoing success is the quality of motivation within the community (Mattessich, Monsey & Roy, 1997). Mattessich, Monsey & Roy list 28 factors for successful community building efforts, grouped in three categories: 1) community characteristics: the social, psychological, geographic characteristics, and the endeavours of the community members; 2) community building process characteristics: the sense of cohesion in the agenda (true sense of representation, communication and support); and 3) characteristics of community organising practitioners: commitment, responsibility, empathy and experience. 

Among the community building characteristics identified by Mottessich, Monsey and Roy, the ones most relevant to the nature of community emphasise members’ relationships, ability to discuss, reach consensus and cooperate. Positive characteristics for the process emphasise a design that can promote widespread participation, self-understanding, empowerment, and results in satisfying the interest of the majority. Practitioner characteristics refers to qualities of people within or outside the community who are devoted to building the collective. With sustained commitment, these practitioners act as a vital “catalyst” to encouraging change. They must also constantly seek self-renewal and learning to help communicate these values.

In essence, the core value of community building is to stimulate internal transformation through community engagement. Experience is a necessary process for the participating citizens because change is derived from the transformations inherent in learning: respecting and accepting others and transforming from self interest to finding the common good. Professionals in community building must continue to reflect on their roles and their work and to be adaptive to local wisdom and experience, mending society by rebuilding community life (transforming relationships and establishing community life based on democratic processes), structures (building highly participatory and synergetic processes), and culture (building a democratic lifestyle for conviviality). While these core values may vary in priorities, they are all vital. By reflecting on the challenging issues faced with community work, we may very well rediscover our initial passion, take an inventory of the social capacity at the moment, and move to build up the quality and mechanism for the community from individual, relational, structural and cultural perspectives.   

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