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Conversations about social futures – some connections

In 2005, soon after her Labour government’s re-election, Prime Minister Helen Clark said in a speech to the Combined Trade Unions Conference,

The campaign for the next election has already started, and it can be won by beginning now to engage grass roots organisations and communities in debate about the kind of future we want for our country.”

The question is, what would such debate or conversation look like? And how might a government take this project from rhetoric to policy?

A locality engaged in conversations to develop shared interests, vision and related projects is Lyttelton, in Christchurch. Village-connections is interested to hear more from people involved in projects such as these: what works well, what could we apply in our own areas, and how can we enhance further collective learning about our local development.
Paul Ricoeur, a philosopher and literary theorist, argued that a major problem today is mediating between the reality of the everyday and utopic horizons. He said, “it is not that we are without utopia, but that we are without paths to utopia. And without a path towards it, without concrete and practical mediation in our field of experience, utopia becomes a sickness.”

Is Lyttleton helping to open up some practical pathways?

Yes, conversations about a shared vision for the future are needed, but it is also important to understand how in practice individual and shared agency can be developed.

We often hear a lot about what is going wrong, but not what has worked well – and why.

Your comments are most welcome.

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