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Reimagining the language of engagement in a post-stakeholder world

Mark S. Reed Orcid Logo, Bethann Garramon Merkle, Elizabeth J. Cook, Caitlin Hafferty, Adam P. Hejnowicz, Richard Holliman, Ian D. Marder, Ursula Pool, Christopher M. Raymond, Kenneth E. Wallen, David Whyte, Marta Ballesteros, Sadiq Bhanbhro, Siniša Borota, Marnie L. Brennan, Esther Carmen, Elaine A. Conway, Rosie Everett, Fiona Armstrong-Gibbs, Eric Jensen, Gerbrand Koren, Jenny Lockett, Pedi Obani, Seb O’Connor, Laurie Prange, Jon Mason, Simon Robinson Orcid Logo, Priya Shukla, Anna Tarrant, Alessandro Marchetti, Mascha Stroobant

Sustainability Science

Swansea University Author: Simon Robinson Orcid Logo

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Abstract

Language matters in shaping perceptions and guiding behaviour. The term stakeholder is widely used, yet little attention is paid to the possibility that its use may inadvertently perpetuate colonial narratives and reinforce systemic inequities. In this article, we critically examine the limitations...

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Published in: Sustainability Science
ISSN: 1862-4065 1862-4057
Published: Springer Science and Business Media LLC 2024
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa65819
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Abstract: Language matters in shaping perceptions and guiding behaviour. The term stakeholder is widely used, yet little attention is paid to the possibility that its use may inadvertently perpetuate colonial narratives and reinforce systemic inequities. In this article, we critically examine the limitations of the stakeholder concept and its ambiguity, normativity and exclusionary implications. We emphasise the importance of using language that gives a voice to marginalised groups, promotes inclusion and equity, and fosters meaningful and reflexive participation in decision-making processes. In critiquing the use of the term and calling for alternative practices, we aim to contribute to the decolonisation of research norms and the creation of more inclusive and equitable societies. Therefore, rather than advocating a single alternative term, we suggest a focus on the people, places and species affected by decisions, interventions, projects and issues.
Keywords: Decolonisation, Engagement, Epistemic justice, Inclusivity, Ethical communication
College: Faculty of Science and Engineering
Funders: No funding was received for this work