Redefining Region: Social Construction in a Regional Watershed Education Partnership.Report as inadecuate

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What constitutes a region? In what ways do people define or construct the regions in which they live and work? This paper presents findings of a case study of a regional watershed partnership that examined the social ecological processes of social construction-in-action. The study sought to examine how a major watershed's educators collaborated to coconstruct a regional partnership and to determine whether these processes reflected a broader social construction of "watershed-as-region." If so, that would mean that collaborative efforts among regional partners had established a greater sense of coherence than other existing constructs, either political or spatial. The study spanned an 18-month period, tracing conceptual changes in individual participants' perspectives about region and partnership. The social constructs of "watershed" and "partnership" were examined through participant observation, two sets of interviews with each of the eight participants, and analysis of participants' geographic representations. Participants were asked during the interviews to produce graphic representations, or sketch maps, of the partnership. The findings indicate that cognitive representations of watershed region are influenced by persistent political boundaries and that the tension between natural and political boundaries remained even while collaborative efforts were in process. However, no organization or individual dominated the partnership process. Ten figures and two tables are included. (Contains 59 references.) (LMI)

Descriptors: Agency Cooperation, Cognitive Processes, Educational Cooperation, Elementary Secondary Education, Geographic Regions, Partnerships in Education, Physical Divisions (Geographic), Political Divisions (Geographic), Regional Cooperation

Author: Alibrandi, Marsha


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