The Circles of Sustainability approach enables the categorization of content throughout the Program Journals. Four domains, 28 sub-domains, and 162 unique topics is enough to create an information architecture alongside a curriculum. A journal format helps align research towards any reader interested in Sustainability and achieving some form of practice in their community. As needed, research and citations from the Circles group will be provided throughout as I serve no affiliation with the team. Please visit their website for more details and published research.
Utilizing the Circles of Sustainability concepts of Social Life, research into Explorations are further refined into Research Circles. These methods were developed by the Circles of Sustainability team to categorize Engagement and Knowledge, which is a great place to start analyzing complex sociological matters.
Civil society is defined as the many forms of public associational life that exist beyond the spheres of the state or the market, not including personal and familial relations. The formation of civil society depends upon the distinction between the private and the public. In being in the public sphere, civil society thus does not encompass personal or immediate genealogical relations. Civil society organizations cross all four domains of social life: ecology, economics, politics and culture.
Governance institutions are defined as the many different forms of legitimated bodies that have a designated responsibility in relation to a defined territory, constituency, community, and/or regime of activity. Here the concepts of ‘institution’ or ‘having designated responsibility’ do not just include modern bodies with formal juridical power. For example, ‘elders and councils’ includes customary or traditional elders — informal but critically important political leaders in tribal or faith-based communities. Governance institutions have their primary base in the political domain.
Business organizations are defined as bodies that operate with their primary base in the economic domain and have a significant proportion of their activities directed towards a market of some kind.
Research-based entities are defined as those bodies that have enquiry and learning as their primary purpose. Such entities can be based in institutions and organizations across any of the other three spheres of public engagement. However, even if they are initiated, funded or hosted by other entities, their primary purpose should be systematic enquiry in specified fields. In other words, even if they are researching economic, political or ecological questions, research-based entities have their primary base in the cultural domain. Complicating issues arise when enquiry is completely harnessed for instrumental ends. For example, when, for a particular organization, market-based performance indicators overwhelm the task of enquiry and the applied commercial outcomes become more important than the research itself, then this entity might be better described as a ‘business organization with research tasks’ than a ‘research-based entity’.
The first form of knowing is sensory experience: feeling things. This is the phenomenal sense that something exists in relation to us, or has an impact on us. The concept of ‘affect’ attests to this kind of consciousness, as does ‘sense data’. But sensory experience is less technically conceived than those abstract expressions. It is embodied experience. It is felt, but not necessarily reflected upon. How we feel about our cities and homes is critical to how we act upon them.
The second form is practical consciousness: knowing practically or pragmatically how to do things; knowing how to ‘go on’. Practical consciousness is basic to human action in the world. Writers as different as Wittgenstein and Marx have elaborated upon this theme. Often we just know how to do things without reading instruction manuals. This way of knowing comes from long-term practical experience. Such experience is fundamental to generating good practice and remaking our cities in positive ways.
The third form is reflective consciousness. This is the modality in which people reflect upon their felt experience and practical knowledge. It is the stuff of ordinary philosophy. It is what thoughtful practitioners often do when they get a chance to step back from a project — thinking about what has been done, what is to be done, and how could it be done better. It is the basis of good interpretation. It is necessary to good urban design and project management.
The fourth form is reflexive consciousness, or knowledge that comes in interrogating the nature of knowing while seeking to understand the world. Reflexivity requires reflection upon the constitutive conditions of being here or doing things. In the Circles approach reflexivity goes beyond reflecting upon techniques, processes and practices. It involves standing back from and reinterpreting those techniques and practices in the light of the nature of thinking and acting that underlies those techniques and practices. This process of interrogating the conditions of our practice is tenuous, recursive, and always partial. But it is necessary to good practice in a world that is full of both fashionable and commonsense claims about what should be done — some helpful, some not.
An easy to learn cooperative organizational strategy, starting with your self and ten cooperative friendly categories.
Matching the process to custom methodologies in a shared organizational practice enables equal opportunity for free association of time and labor across Sustainable Programs.
Learn from work examples that generate insights, designs, and resources for community-led programs working towards a Sustainable Future.
Help build a Sustainable Development Community. Patrons and Donations contribute towards a Sustainable Future