Elevate Difference

A Place for Dialogue: Language, Land Use, and Politics in Southern Arizona

Sharon Stevens has dual intention for A Place for Dialogue. She has brought to light the conflicts between ranching, grazing and conservation in Southern Arizona. Stevens also brings forward the manner in which distinct groups dialogue to move people from “representation to relationship.” The many sided debate between ranchers, developers, conservationists and public officials moves through the book as she insightfully defines the methodology in finding collaborative space. The author’s approach to the situation was done in such a manner to present all perspectives without bias, illuminating the need for engaging people at the local level to build understanding within groups whose “primary allegiance is those they identified with.” There, she describes the conflicts and the impact our changing society has had on everyone involved.

The contention in creating space for collaboration is not solved here – the process of experiential methods within the context of public land use is described, defined and the reader is taken through the experience step-by-step. The struggle between these entities described is impacted by stereotypes compounding how, in negotiation, someone is bound lose and how parties prioritize the importance of their own success above the needs of others.

Written by: Mary O'Hara, May 23rd 2007