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MA in Activism and Social Change SCHOOL OF GEOGRAPHY. Consensus decision making: the basics. MA in Activism and Social Change SCHOOL OF GEOGRAPHY. 3920: Autonomous Geographies, Sustainable Futures SCHOOL OF GEOGRAPHY. Consensus decision making: principles.

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Presentation Transcript
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MA in Activism and Social Change

SCHOOL OF GEOGRAPHY

Consensus decision making:

the basics

slide2

MA in Activism and Social Change

SCHOOL OF GEOGRAPHY

3920: Autonomous Geographies, Sustainable Futures

SCHOOL OF GEOGRAPHY

Consensus decision making: principles

  • No one is more qualified than you are to make decisions about your life
  • You should have power to influence a decision in proportion to the impact that decision will have on you
  • Needs prior commitment from everyone to making a fair decision
  • Dialogue between equals: it is NOT adversarial politics
  • Taking account of everyone’s needs – giving real commitment to final decision
  • Finding solutions that everyone can live with
  • Working with each other - not for or against each other
  • Attempts to avoid ‘tyranny of the majority’ – where minority views are lost
  • Power of veto for the marginalised - not to avoid deadlock or create compromise
  • Can work in small and large groups
  • Not problem free or a dogma to be use at all costs – it is contextual
slide3

MA in Activism and Social Change

SCHOOL OF GEOGRAPHY

3920: Autonomous Geographies, Sustainable Futures

SCHOOL OF GEOGRAPHY

Problems

  • Those with more experience can manipulate the outcome.
  • Existing policies remain in place if no decision is reached.
  • Time commitment – leading to frustration and weaker commitment.
  • The right to veto can be a lethal tool and open to abuse
  • Those who know more about an issue will have more power
  • Without a common aim a deep understanding and respect for consensus is less likely.
  • Balancing personal and collective freedom – how are they linked?
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MA in Activism and Social Change

SCHOOL OF GEOGRAPHY

Guidelines for consensus

  • Be respectful and trust each other. Don't be afraid to express your ideas and opinions.
  • Don't assume that someone must win and someone must lose. Look for the most acceptable solution for everyone.
  • Think before you speak, listen before you object. Listen to others’ reactions, and consider them carefully before pressing your point.
  • Remember that the ideal behind consensus is empowering not overpowering, agreement not majorities/minorities.
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MA in Activism and Social Change

SCHOOL OF GEOGRAPHY

Conditions for Consensus

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MA in Activism and Social Change

SCHOOL OF GEOGRAPHY

Typical Consensus Process

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MA in Activism and Social Change

SCHOOL OF GEOGRAPHY

Dealing with disagreements

  • The major objection (block or veto)
  • The minor objection (stand aside)
  • Agree to disagree – no agreement (what are risks)
  • The Fridge: Put the decision on ice – for an hour or day
  • Back-up options
    • Allow the person most concerned to make the decision.
    • Put all the possibilities into a hat and pull one out.
    • Majority voting as a backup
  • Leaving the group
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MA in Activism and Social Change

SCHOOL OF GEOGRAPHY

Facilitating the meeting

  • Good facilitation key
  • Little emotional investment in the issues discussed.
  • Energy and attention for the job at hand.
  • Understanding of tasks for the meeting as well as long-term goals of the group.
  • Good listening skills to be able to understand everyone's viewpoint properly.
  • Confidence that good solutions will be found and consensus can be achieved.
  • Assertiveness that is not overbearing
  • Respect for all participants and interest in what each individual has to offer.
  • Clear thinking – observation of the whole group.
  • Attend both to the content of the discussion and the process – and emotions
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MA in Activism and Social Change

SCHOOL OF GEOGRAPHY

Meeting roles

  • All optional or merge-able:
  • Facilitator
  • Co-facilitator (for large meetings)
  • Minute taker
  • Time keeper
  • Speaker-hand taker
  • Welcomer-doorkeeper
  • Vibes watcher!
slide10

MA in Activism and Social Change

SCHOOL OF GEOGRAPHY

Tools for meetings

  • Beforehand
    • Training
    • Setting up the venue (make a list of tasks)
    • Group agreements and ground rules
    • Clear agenda
    • Use of hand signals (see slide)
  • Making a decision
    • Go rounds
    • Ideas storm
    • Straw polls – temperature checks
    • Pros and cons
    • Plus-minus-interesting
    • Taking breaks
  • At end
    • Evaluation
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MA in Activism and Social Change

SCHOOL OF GEOGRAPHY

Tools: hand signals

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MA in Activism and Social Change

SCHOOL OF GEOGRAPHY

Consensus exercise

In groups of around 12, use the proposal structure to decide how you will plan a group night out.

Remember: the idea is to generate proposals and reach a decision that you have consensus on and that you can implement

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MA in Activism and Social Change

SCHOOL OF GEOGRAPHY

Resources

  • Seeds for Change: www.seedsforchange.org.uk
  • Trapese: www.trapese.org
  • Handbook For Change: www.handbookforchange.org