Enhancing Rural Community Sustainability through Intergenerational Dialogue

  • Author / Creator
    Hamm, Zane Elizabeth
  • Many rural Alberta communities face critical issues of sustainability including rural-urban migration by youth and young adults. Drawing on research in Alberta, this thesis identifies the factors influencing rural-urban migration and discusses ways of empowering communities. A survey of youth who have left rural communities throughout Alberta, and semi-structured interviews with youth and adults, were conducted to identify these factors. Dialogues (focus groups) involving youth and adults were facilitated in one case study community in east-central Alberta (Kitscoty), to build awareness and a consciousness of key issues of sustainability and resilience. An “intergenerational dialogue framework” is proposed that speaks to the importance of engaging youth and other members of rural communities in discursive processes of issue identification and problem solving. The research findings contribute to our understanding of community sustainability in rural Alberta, indicating that this trend is not inevitable. Many social and environmental factors: 1) A sense of community; 2) social capital; 3) engagement; 4) dialogue; 5) conscientization; 6) an understanding of power and privilege; and 7) attention to context, were said to positively impact youth engagement, and may counter well established pull factors associated with urbanization. The study demonstrates a process of dialogue to bridge generations for effective, authentic communication and to co-create knowledge that can enhance rural education and policy development. The Framework for Intergenerational Dialogue can be applied to other rural communities to strengthen communities with an engaged citizenry.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2012
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Specialization
    • Adult Education
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Parlee, Brenda (Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
    • Watt-Malcolm, Bonnie (Secondary Education)
    • Peters, Frank (Educational Policy Studies)
    • Corbett, Michael, (Acadia University, School of Education, External Reader)
    • Epp, Roger (Political Science)