I started the process of developing this application paper as a way to think more about connecting the specific community to the larger, but quickly came to realize that there is as much if not more need for the specific community to engage with itself. My focus as a member of the community, a participatory action researcher, was to think about how to engage the specific community in activity that would connect with the larger communities in which the specific participated, such as connecting to the May Day protests, to the larger pagan community through public events, etc … Through my own process of thinking about large group interventions, I have come to more fully realize that there are important benefits to be gained from the specific community being more fully engaged with itself, such as sustainability and depth of practice, as well as sense of identity.

I also have in some ways crystallized the growing realization that what I have developed as the environment within which dialogue will flourish, the enabling dialogical space, is perhaps a more general theory about the foundation of space in which any transformative process can occur, and by transformation there is an overall domain which I have taken to be dialogical in nature. In fact, it appears that the overall domain is transformative, and dialogical processes are an example of a practice within the domain. I have come to realize that many transformative processes fail to explicitly and intentionally develop a transformative foundation within which to work, but very often take this formation as a given and concentrate instead on the process to be enacted. While I clearly indicate that dialogical, and thus transformative processes, are naturally occurring, I hold that these processes are more likely to occur and transformation is more likely to emerge if there is definite intentionality toward the foundation of the enabling space, comprised, as I have outlined, of qualitative time & space, willingness and good faith. Like so many things in life, simple to learn, but something I suspect takes a lifetime to master.

I believe that the conclusion of this application inquiry is that I must endeavour to have a first hand experience of the “Witchcamp” process which is native to the specific community and attempt to discern if it would be the most appropriate method to use in a local event for the purpose of community building in the Olympia Reclaiming community.

Posted by John Bell on June 8, 2006
Tags: Putting Community In

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