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A constant comparative analysis of opposition campaign leaders’ experiences during a controversial referendum… Shoveller, Jean Anne 1997

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A CONSTANT COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF OPPOSITION CAMPAIGN LEADERS' EXPERIENCES DURING A CONTROVERSIAL REFERENDUM ABOUT ALCOHOL SALE INITIATED BY A COMMERCIAL INTEREST by JEAN ANNE SHOVELLER B.Sc, Dalhousie University, 1988 M.A., Dalhousie University, 1990 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF. DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Interdisciplinary Studies) We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard . ~ ' THETJNIVERSlTY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA April 1997 © Jean Anne Shoveller, 1997 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of /AJ7£/<J>ISC/f/VSH?y S ^ ^ ' ^ S The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date ?(>/j7~ / ? / DE-6 (2/88) ABSTRACT The Ottawa Charter For Health Promotion defines health promotion as "the process of enabling people to increase control over, and improve, their health" (World Health Organization, 1986, p. 1). Subsequently, health promotion policy-making, practice, and research promised a broader view of the concept of health and strategies to promote health, including an increased emphasis on decentralized participatory approaches and efforts to affect policies influencing health. The literature emphasizes the cooperative rather than the confrontational aspects of participation, offering limited knowledge about how participation relates to what citizens experience when they take on leadership roles during referendums. This study examines the history of opposition at the neighbourhood level during a controversial, health-related referendum. This study seeks to generate hypotheses about the experience of campaign leaders during such a process of participation and confrontation. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with three opposition campaign leaders and two key informants. Data were coded and organized into a theoretical framework, guided by the principles of the constant comparative method. Participating in a referendum is the core category around which all other concepts clustered and has three major stages. The first stage, becoming involved, has three phases: activating, anticipating, and structuring. The second stage, being involved, has five phases: bargaining, relinquishing, overcoming, concretizing, and elevating. Remaining involved, the final stage, has two phases: reconstituting and recovering. Implications for the literature regarding citizen participation, the incorporation of citizen participation in decision making in health promotion, and changes in the process of creating healthful public policy are discussed. The referendum under study polarized citizens according to their emotional responses to complex issues, rather than facilitating broad-based citizen participation in cooperative decision making. Three alternatives to conducting referendums are suggested: deliberative opinion polling, development of a sense of proactive agency within communities, and promotion of equitable power distribution among citizens. ii T A B L E O F C O N T E N T S Abstract ii List of Figures vii Acknowledgement viii P R E F A C E 1 P A R T A : T H E I N V E S T I G A T I O N 2 C h a p t e r 1: I n t r o d u c t i o n 3 General Problem 3 Purpose of this Study 5 Rationale for this Study 5 Study Setting 7 C h a p t e r 2: R e v i e w o f L i t e r a t u r e 12 Intent of the Review of Literature 12 Enhancing Community Health Through Healthful Public Policy 12 Citizen Participation to Promote Healthful Public Policy 13 Citizen Participation and Empowerment 15 Context and Citizen Participation 22 The Concept of Sense of Community 25 The Concept of Social Capital 27 Models of Citizen Participation in Decision Making 28 The Referendum: Arguments in Favour 32 The Referendum: Arguments Against 34 Previous Studies of Health-Related Referendums 37 Citizen Participation and Alcohol Control 41 Citizen Participation in Coalitions and Advocacy Groups 41 Citizen Participation in Referendums on Alcohol Control 45 Citizens as Campaign Leaders 46 Direct Voting in Context 50 iii Summary of Review of Literature 51 Chapter 3: Methods 52 Aims of Chapter 3 52 Rationale for Study Approach 52 The Case for Qualitative Research Strategies 55 Data Sources 59 Nature of the Data 68 Confidentiality of Responses 71 Data Analysis Procedures 71 Coding 74 Axial Coding 75 Memo Writing 77 Presentation of Findings 79 Developing Hypotheses 82 Developing a Conceptual Model 82 Writing About Themes 83 Example of Writing About a Theme 84 Criteria for Assessing the Approach 84 PART B: THE FINDINGS 96 Outline of the Theoretical Framework 96 Core Category 97 Context of Participation in a Referendum Campaign 97 Chapter 4: Becoming Involved 101 Activating 102 Anticipating 104 Structuring 106 Chapter 5: Being Involved 110 Bargaining HI Bargaining Through Co-opting and Coercing 112 Chapter 5: (Cont'd) Feeling Vulnerable and Isolated 117 Relinquishing 122 Overcoming 125 Overcoming Through Restructuring 126 Overcoming Through Civic-Mindedness 129 Overcoming Through Determination 132 Concretizing 139 Elevating 145 Disengaging 148 Chapter 6: Staying Involved 151 Reconstituting 153 Recovering 157 Transition from Recovering to Reactivating 161 Barriers to Making the Transition to Reactivating 164 Reactivating Citizen Participation 170 Summary of Experiencing a Referendum 175 Chapter 7: Cultivating Context Shift 178 PART C: IMPLICATIONS 183 Chapter 8: Implications For Further Research The Literature, Practice, And Policy 184 Implications for Further Research 184 Guide for Further Research 184 Participating in a Referendum Campaign 185 Anticipating 186 Bargaining 187 Concretizing 188 Disengaging 189 Barriers to Making the Transition to Reactivating 190 v Chapter 8 (Cont'd) Reactivating Citizen Participation 191 Contributions to Knowledge About Citizen Participation 191 Support of Existing Literature 191 Challenges to Existing Literature 197 Implications for Health Promotion Practice 200 Support for Current Practice 200 Expand Current Practice 201 Alter Current Practice 202 Implications for Healthful Public Policy 205 Use of Referendums 205 Modified Approach to Conducting Referendums 206 Problems Inherent in the Referendum Device 208 The Paradoxes of Referendums 210 Alternatives to Referendums 212 Deliberative Opinion Polling 213 Proactive Power 215 Equitable Distribution of Power 216 REFERENCES 220 APPENDICES Appendix A: Guidelines for Referendum 244 Appendix B: Interview Guide 245 Appendix C: Letter of Introduction 247 Appendix D: Consent Form 248 Appendix E: List of Theoretical Hypotheses 249 Appendix F: Highlights of How the Framework Emerged 268 vi LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1: Example of Open Coding 74 Figure 2: Example of Axial Coding 75 Figure 3: Example of Organizing Framework 77 Figure 4: Example of Profile Memo 78 Figure 5: Example of Method Memo • 78 Figure 6: Example of Theoretical Memo 78 Figure 7: Example of Concept Memo 79 Figure 8: Example of Writing About Findings 81 Figure 9: Vulnerability and Isolation 83 Figure 10: Theoretical Framework 97 Figure 11: Context for Participation '. 98 Figure 12: Becoming Involved 101 Figure 13: Activating 102 Figure 14: Anticipating 104 Figure 15: Structuring 106 Figure 16: Being Involved 110 Figure 17: Bargaining HI Figure 18: Relinquishing 122 Figure 19: Overcoming 125 Figure 20: Concretizing 139 Figure 21: Elevating 145 Figure 22: Disengaging 148 Figure 23: Staying Involved 151 Figure 24: Reconstituting 153 Figure 25: Recovering 157 Figure 26: Transition to Reactivating 161 Figure 27: Barriers to Reactivating 165 Figure 28: Reactivating 171 vii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I owe a special debt of gratitude to each of the study participants who devoted many hours and risked much in sharing their experiences. The writing is richer for their frank expressions of fear, anger, pride and hope. This research was funded by the British Columbia Ministry of Health (Alcohol & Drug Programs) and the University of British Columbia. The Institute of Health Promotion Research, University of British Columbia, offered me an "academic home" throughout the research period (1993-1997). I am grateful to Lawrence Green, Director of IHPR and my academic supervisor, and to the members of my dissertation committee ~ Carol Herbert, Garry Grams, Chris Lovato, and Peter Boothroyd. This dissertation began as a personal journey, so it is only fitting that my acknowledgements close on such a note. For my parents, Ron and Vickie Barteaux, who taught me to view every day as "good experience", I promise to follow your lead and make a contribution. Special thanks to my sister, Jane Barteaux, and my best friend, Mieke Koehoorn, two women of excellece. I am especially blessed to have a mentor, Donald Langille, who demonstrates by his work and through his person, that public health research affords the most gratifying issues to study and the most dynamic scholars with whom to work. My final acknowledgment is to my husband, Tim Shoveller, whose intellect and kindness renew my faith in human promise. PREFACE The purpose of this study is to generate hypotheses about what citizens experience when they participate as campaign leaders in a controversial, health-related referendum. The referendum under study occurred in 1993 within a neighbourhood in Vancouver, Canada. In-depth interviews were conducted in 1996 with leaders of a campaign against an application to build a new beer and wine store in the neighbourhood. These data were used, along with data collected through in-depth interviews with key informants, to generate hypotheses for further research in other settings. The study is important because of the frequency with which referendums1 have been employed in the past and the potential for increased use of referendums regarding health-related, public policy issues in the future. Prior to this study, the potential impact of referendums on citizen participation and, in particular on citizen leadership within communities to participate in decision making to promote health has been unexplored. 'My choice of the plural form of referendum was made in deference to the combined authority of Butler and Ranney (1994) and the editors of the Oxford English Dictionary. 1 P A R T A : T H E I N V E S T I G A T I O N Part A of this dissertation consists of four components. Chapter 1 provides an overview of the problem of interest, describes the purpose of the study, and gives a rationale for examining the problem. The description of the study setting included at the end of Chapter 1 orients the reader to the particulars of this case and to provide the necessary information to understand the context of the study. Chapter 2 reviews literature relevant to the study purpose. Chapter 3 explains the methodological assumptions that guided this study and the qualitative research method used to collect and analyze the data. 2 CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION General Problem The Ottawa Charter For Health Promotion (1986) officially ushered in a new approach to the conduct and practice of interdisciplinary research. By defining health promotion as "the process of enabling people to increase control over, and improve, their health" (World Health Organization, 1986, p. 1), the emphasis has shifted to include a broader view of the concept of health and strategies to promote health. Health promotion researchers and practitioners now tend to recognize that individuals and communities are more likely to act to promote health in response to concerns around specific quality-of-life issues involving social, political, cultural, environmental, and economic well-being, than pursuing health as an end unto itself (Green & Kreuter, 1990; Labonte, 1994; Green, 1996; Wallack & Dorfman, 1996). More formal recognition of the forces that determine health has further highlighted the integration of social, political, cultural, environmental and economic issues with traditional behavioural approaches to health promotion (Federal/Provincial/Territorial Advisory Committee on Population Health, 1994; Minkler, Wallace & McDonald, 1995). Discussions about the role of health promotion in relation to the broad determinants of health signify at least a change in the rhetoric regarding health promotion (Stevenson & Burke, 1992). If the rhetoric continues to be translated into action, then the conventional roles of bureaucrats, politicians, researchers, practitioners, and citizens will change accordingly (Green, 1990; O'Neill, Rootman & Pederson, 1994). The integration of public policy regarding health issues with social, political, environmental, cultural, and economic issues influences the capacity of communities to increase control over and 3 improve their own health (Milio, 1981; Mullen, Evans, Forster, Gottleib, Kreuter, Moon, O'Rourke & Strecher,1995). There has been a trend towards participatory approaches to promoting health (Ottawa Charter, 1986; Green, 1986; Hancock, 1989; Labonte, 1989; Green & Kreuter, 1991; O'Neill, 1992; Green, George, Daniel, Frankish, Herbert, Bowie & 0'Neill,1995; Doherty & Rispel, 1995; Kelly & Van Vlaenderen, 1996). In the early days of health education and promotion, a style of participation, coined "participation as cooperation" (Green, 1986), was widely applied by practitioners and researchers. As health education evolved and health promotion continues to evolve, its practitioners and researchers have adopted more active approaches to citizen participation from the writings on education, psychology, and community organization. Empowerment and its role in citizen participation is one of the most significant concepts associated with research in this area (Israel, Checkoway, Schulz & Zimmerman, 1994; Hawe, 1994; Green & Raeburn, 1990; Labonte, 1994; Simons-Morton & Davis Crump, 1996). Attempts to understand both the theoretical and empirical bases for individual and aggregate conceptions of empowerment have produced re-examinations of many commonly used models for practice and research (Bjaras, Haglund & Rifkin, 1991; Eng & Parker, 1994; Freudenberg, Eng, Flay, Parcel, Rogers and Wallerstein, 1995; Perkins, Florin, Rich, Wandersman, Chavis, 1990; Robertson & Minkler, 1994; Weisbord, 1987; Zimmerman, 1990; McTaggart, 1991; Zimmerman & Zahniser, 1991; Green, et al., 1995) and have had a revolutionary influence on practitioners' and researchers' understanding of the process of health promotion (Labonte, 1994; Simons-Morton & Davis Crump, 1996). Encouraging and facilitating citizen participation in decision making by such means as citizen advisory groups, public hearings, advocacy, and political action has become standard among health promotion practitioners (Kaplan, 1986; Wallerstein & 4 Bernstein, 1988; Labonte, 1993; Green, 1991; Pederson, O'Neill & Rootman, 1994), yet little research has been conducted in this area to understand what happens when citizens participate as campaign leaders in health-related referendums. Purpose of this Study The purpose of this study is to generate hypotheses about what citizens might experience when they become leaders of a campaign concerning a controversial, health-related referendum. The Referendum under study provides an opportunity to complete an in-depth examination of an information-rich event that occurred within a neighbourhood in Vancouver. The topic of the Referendum was alcohol control, which constitutes part of the study context. Alcohol control is not the problem of interest in this study, however, nor is this study intended to determine whether citizens made a correct decision regarding the application to open a new beer and wine store. Instead, this study generates hypotheses about what citizens experience when they take on leadership roles during a health-related referendum. Rationale for this Study Issues regarding what citizens experience when they take on leadership roles in health-related referendums are significant because of the frequency with which this type of referendum has occurred in the past and the potential for increased use of referendums regarding health-related and other public policy issues in the future. In addition, the potential impact of referendums on community dynamics and on the overall capacity within communities to participate in decision making to promote and protect health remains unexplored. This study is also important because it encourages opposition campaign leaders to share their experiences 5 regarding the Referendum2 and provides them with an opportunity to have their stories recorded. By recording and analyzing these stories, the knowledge constructed around these experiences can be helpful for people who determine when referendums should be held and how they should be structured and conducted. In conclusion, the concepts of participation is considered a touchstone of health promotion program planning (Nyswander, 1956 in Green & Kreuter, 1991), and the concept of empowerment has become the "buzz word" of health promotion in the 1990s (Labonte, 1994; Jacobs, 1996). Health promotion practitioners, researchers, and policy-makers, however, have a limited understanding of how participation and empowerment relate to what citizens can experience when they take on leadership roles during referendums. If health promotion practitioners and researchers believe that social, economic, cultural, and environmental policies have bearing on policies to promote health, and if they believe that citizens should be encouraged to participate in decision making, then they are obliged to examine citizens' experiences with the mechanisms, such as the referendum, through which participation in decision making occurs. Although situations and people vary greatly across contexts, it is worthwhile to pursue an investigation of this one case as a beginning to the process of better understanding the broad question of how communities make decisions regarding public policy issues. 2I use an upper case "R" to denote the Referendum held in 1993 about the application for a beer and wine store. A lower case "r" is used when referring to referendums in general. 6 Study Setting To orient the reader to this case and to provide the necessary background information to understand the context of the study, this section describes the neighbourhood within which the Referendum occurred and reviews the events surrounding the Referendum. This study takes place in a neighbourhood called Mount Pleasant in Vancouver, Canada. Mount Pleasant was the first suburb of the City of Vancouver and began as a prosperous residential and industrial community in the late 1800s. Gradually, industrial development spread southward from False Creek, enveloping many residential areas within Mount Pleasant. By the 1930s, warehouses and manufacturing plants had sprung up, and by 1993, hundreds of homes had been razed to make way for commercial and industrial development (Kemp, 1993). The City of Vancouver has designated five distinct neighbourhoods within Mount Pleasant according to land use status, including: Mount Pleasant Industrial, West Mount Pleasant, Main Street Core, Mount Pleasant North, and Mount Pleasant Triangle. Several major transportation routes, including a freeway, bus routes, and three major thoroughfares for cross-town driving converge in Mount Pleasant. At the time of this study, Mount Pleasant had three government liquor stores and numerous private retail sales outlets, in addition to hotels and pubs in the neighbourhood. During the autumn of 1993, adult residents and business owners in the neighbourhood of Mount Pleasant cast their ballots to record their answers to the question: "Are you IN FAVOUR 7 of a...Beer and Wine Store3 proposed for the [... Hotel4]?". Fifty-three percent eligible voters voted against the application to open a new Beer & Wine Store (1872 of 3533)5. Census data indicate a total of 18,905 people live in Mount Pleasant (Statistics Canada, 1991). Over half (56 percent) of Mount Pleasant's population is between the ages of 20 and 44. The neighbourhood has about equal numbers of males (51 percent) and females (49 percent). Although 83 percent of residents in Mount Pleasant list their language spoken at home as English, 15 percent of residents list the language most frequently spoken at home as Chinese, Vietnamese, or Tagalog (Filipino). Nearly one-quarter (22 percent) of people living in Mount Pleasant are not Canadian citizens. About half (52 percent) of the neighbourhood is non-immigrant, with the majority of immigrants originating from Asia (25 percent). Sixty percent of immigrants came to Canada during the period 1981-91 and most (69 percent) came as adults over age 20. Three-quarters (75 percent) of the residents had moved during the five-year period prior to the 1991 census. Of the 15,895 residents 15 years of age and over, 58 percent are employed, 12 percent are unemployed, and 30 percent are not in the labour force. Major employers are accommodation and food service businesses (13 percent), retail trade (12 percent), and manufacturing (12 percent). 3Beer and Wine Stores operate in British Columbia as privatized sales outlets for beer and wine. They have Class "G" licenses to permit extended operating hours, including Sunday opening. Beer and Wine Stores tend to be associated with existing licensed establishments such as hotel off-sales and neighbourhood pubs. The application under consideration during the 1993 Referendum proposed to build the new beer and wine store in Mount Pleasant, adjacent to a hotel located at the convergence of all the major transportation routes of the neighbourhood. 41 refer to the hotel that made the application for a new beer and wine store simply as "the Hotel." Within the text, I have used an upper case "H" to denote the Hotel as one stakeholder in the Referendum. No representatives from the Hotel agreed to participate in the study. 5 Fifty-four percent of eligible voters cast ballots (3,533 of 6,545) during the voting period. Forty-three percent voted in favour of the application to open a new Beer & Wine Store (1,529 of 3,533). Four percent of ballots were spoiled ballots (132 of 3,533). 8 In the 1991 census, one-third of families in Mount Pleasant (33 percent) reported an annual family income less than $20,000, with 77 percent of families living on less than $50,000 per year. Forty percent of families were classified as "low income," as were 45.6 percent of unattached individuals and 43.3 percent of people living within private households. Average employment income for males and females was $27,375 for a full year, full-time job. For those people who worked for part of a year or part-time, average income was $14,243. Over 9,000 households responding to the census were occupied by members of the aboriginal population (4 percent of the total Mount Pleasant population). The predominant housing type was rental (80 percent), with 20 percent of residents owning their own homes. Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of the dwellings in Mount Pleasant were apartments less than five stories. The average value of an owned home was $185,988. The average cost of rent was $571, with 47 percent of residents expending more than 30 percent of their income on rent. Mount Pleasant has a wide variety of community organizations, including: the Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood Association (MPNA); Mount Pleasant Business Association (MPBA); Mount Pleasant Heritage Conservation Society; Mount Pleasant Police Liaison Committee; Association for Mount Pleasant Economic Renewal; Allied Indian and Metis Society; Mount Pleasant Mini-Team (an inter-agency committee of social services); Royal Canadian Legion, Mount Pleasant Branch; Mount Pleasant Block Neighbours; Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House; Mount Pleasant Family Centre; Mount Pleasant Library; Kimount and Kivan Boys and Girls Clubs; and Mount Pleasant Community Centre (which provides recreational and social programming). Many ethnic and cultural groups meet in Mount Pleasant. Mount Pleasant has hosted the annual Vancouver Fringe Festival since its inception in 1985. Several other artistic groups, theatres, and galleries exist in the neighbourhood. At the time of the study, five 9 elementary schools, a secondary school, a campus of Vancouver Community College, and the Native Education Centre were located in Mount Pleasant. The Referendum under study was the twenty-seventh referendum relating to alcohol control held in this city between of 1973 and 1993 (Vancouver City Clerk's Records, 1994). A referendum held in Mount Pleasant in 1990 on a similar application for a beer and wine store resulted in a majority of votes in favour of establishing a such a store. Due to low voter turnout, however, Vancouver City Council did not approve that application.6 Thus, in 1993, members of the City Council authorized a second referendum to solicit neighbourhood opinion about the application for a beer and wine store. The Referendum was conducted according to the guidelines of the provincial Liquor Control and Licensing Branch (LCLB) of British Columbia, except with respect to matters assigned further guidelines by the City Council. (Refer to Appendix A for guidelines imposed by the City Council that differed from the existing LCLB guidelines.) The Referendum was the culmination of eight months of debate over the issue, which began with an application from owner-operators of a Mount Pleasant hotel requesting endorsement by Vancouver City Council of an application for a license to open a beer and wine store on its premises. The decision-making process following the application involved a great deal of time and effort on behalf of members of the Hotel's management and staff, opposition campaign leaders, and the City Clerk's office. The application sparked three public information campaigns—one in favour of the application, another opposed to the application, and a third to clarify the rules and Vancouver City Council allowed a second referendum on this application to proceed in 1993 on the grounds that City regulations allowed for two referendums on each application. Because the original application was submitted to Council prior to a provincial moratorium on beer and wine stores was instated, the application was considered an active, but not complete, request to Council. 10 regulations for referendums. The events of the campaign, particularly the libel suit launched by the Hotel against three opposition campaign leaders, received substantial media coverage. 11 CHAPTER 2: REVIEW OF LITERATURE Intent of the Review of Literature This chapter reviews the literature relevant to the purpose of this study, including literature from disciplines such as community psychology, and political science, and interdisciplinary fields such as health promotion and community health. This chapter reviews what is known about the general problem of citizen participation in decision making about policy, examines the literature specific to citizen participation in health-related referendums, and points out the facets of this problem that remain unexplored. Enhancing Community Health Through Healthful Public Policy Health promotion aims beyond the modification of individual lifestyles towards action to: a) achieve healthful public policy in sectors outside health, as well as public health policy; b) affirm the active role of the public in using health knowledge to make choices conducive to health and to increase control over their own health and over their environment; and c) support community action by people at the local level (The Ottawa Charter, 1986). Practitioners working with communities recognize that application of isolated approaches to promote health are insufficient to create community capacity to sustain long-term healthful change (McKinlay, 1993; Mercey, Rosenberg, Powell, Broome & Roper, 1993; Jacobson, Waaserman & Raube, 1993; Marshall & Oleson, 1994; Kroeker, 1995; Rich, Edelstein, Hallman & Wandersman, 1995). An ecological approach to health promotion considers as crucial the interaction between environment and health (Green, Richard, & Potvin, 1996). Efforts to promote public awareness and understanding, healthful environments, and healthful public policy must be designed to act in 12 concert (Milio, 1981; Hancock, 1989, 1990, 1992; Richard, Potvin, Kishchuk, Prlic & Green, 1995). Citizen Participation to Promote Healthful Public Policy While recognizing the important influence of public policy on health, experts in the field have also with increasing frequency begun to reflect on the ideals and the limitations of citizen participation in decision making about public policy (Barber, 1984; Zimmerman, 1986; Hancock, 1990; Roberts, 1995). A brief review of the evolution of citizen participation in relation to the field of community organization lends perspective to the status these two concepts presently hold within the literature. During the 1890s, the Populist Movement in the southern United States advanced an agenda dedicated to reorganizing and redistributing of political power, land ownership, and taxation. Around the turn of the century, the term "community organization" began to be used by social workers coordinating the services of many of the charities developing at that time. In Canada and the United States, the labour movement of the 1930s and 1940s further advanced the idea of organizing people around issues that were important to their well-being. Reverend Moses Coady (1948; 1969) sought to broaden the economic and social well-being of depressed regions through the cooperative movement, which was underpinned by the axioms of mutual assistance, adult education, and economic collectivism. In his classic textbook of the 1950s, Murray Ross, often called the "father of community organization" in America, stressed methods of organizing people based on consensus and co-operation, increased community competence, increased problem-solving ability, and the identification of need by the community itself (Ross, 1955). During the 1960s and 1970s, Saul Alinsky (1968, 1969; 1971) and his Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) challenged the assumptions of cooperation, consensus 13 and mutual problem-solving, changing the face of community organization by integrating co-operative and confrontational strategies that had been used by the labour movement and issue-specific protest movements. The IAF continues to work to improve the lot of citizens living in under-serviced communities, usually inner-city neighbourhoods, through widespread citizen participation in a democratic system of governance (Betten & Austin, 1990; Lamoureux, Mayer & Panet-Raymond, 1989; Lancourt, 1979; O'Brien, 1975; Williams, 1985; Wireman, 1984). Paulo Freire, an adult educator working in the shanty towns of South America, developed a model for democratic and empowering education that called into question some of paternalistic qualities of community development approaches driven by agencies external to the community (Freire, 1973), having a critical influence on thinking about community organization. The work of Jack Rothman during the 1970s and 1980s helped delineate principles for research on and application of planning for social change (Rothman, 1974). Over time and through experience, citizen participation in decision making and community organizations have come to mean many things to many people; however, several key aspects of previous work are represented in present-day practices. Drawing on the major social movements in North America during this century, health promotion has relied on the principles of citizen participation as catalysts to influence social change (Alinsky, 1969,1971; Rappaport, 1985; Burns, 1990; Betten & Austin, 1990). As such, citizen participation is inherent in the official rhetoric on population health and the health of individuals (Ottawa Charter, 1986; Weisbord, 1987; Closer To Home, 1993). Health promotion researchers and practitioners have provided leadership within the health professions by emphasizing citizen participation in decision making about both programs and policy, (Ottawa Charter, 1986; Hancock, 1989; Labonte, 1989; Boothroyd & Eberle, 1990; Green & Kreuter, 14 1991; O'Neill, 1992) and in the conduct of research (Green, 1986; Green, George, Daniel, Frankish, Herbert, Bowie & O'Neill, 1995; Louw, Katzenellenbogen & Carolissen, 1995; Kelly & VanVlaenderen, 1996). The tenets of participation and relevance contend that effective health promotion should include citizen participation in planning (Glanz, Lewis & Rimer, 1990; Green & Kreuter, 1991; Steckler, Allegrante, Altaian, Brown, Burdine, Goodman & Jorgensen, 1995). The role of citizen participation has been described as enlarging people's understanding of issues with the goal of stimulating communities to make decisions and act vigorously based on those decisions (Coady, 1948 & 1967; Ross, 1955; Freire, 1973; Green, 1986). The relevance of policies and programs is enhanced by strengthening citizen participation in decision making (Doherty & Rispel, 1995; Wallerstein, 1992; Wallerstein & Berstein, 1988). Strengthening citizen participation has a long history of practice and research in health promotion (Green & Kreuter, 1991; Minkler, 1992; Terris, 1992). Most latter-day strategies designed to enhance participation are also seeking to enhance empowerment, not merely to tap volunteers for their low-cost labour on behalf of policy change or programs. The question of whether and how citizen participation, specifically in referendums, relates to empowerment remains unclear. Citizen Participation and Empowerment Empowerment may be defined as "an intentional, ongoing process centered in the local community, involving mutual respect, critical reflection, caring and group participation, through which people lacking an equal share of valued resources gain greater access to and control over 15 those resources" (Cornell University Empowerment Group, 1989, p. 2). Empowerment is the construct that pertains to the links among individual strengths and competencies and key informal helping systems (Rappaport, 1981). The concept of empowerment has the potential to revolutionize the way in which individuals and communities view themselves (Rappaport, 1986). Thinking and acting in concert with empowerment forces us to struggle with the paradox between fostering the rights of people to control over their own lives and the needs of people who are perceived to be vulnerable within our society (Rappaport, 1986). Empowerment challenges our traditional assumptions about problem definition and social policy solutions (Seidman, 1986). Empowerment theory links individual well-being with the larger social and political environment (Perkins & Zimmerman, 1995). By focusing on individual and collective capabilities, empowerment links behaviours to social policy and social change (Rappaport, 1984). Discussion regarding the role of power is essential to understanding the relationship between empowerment and social change (Freire, 1973; Wallerstein & Bernstein, 1988; Rappaport, 1987). Practitioners working with communities have been encouraged to "map" existing power structures to assess the context of power and search for its systematic bases (Johnson, 1989; Raven & French, 1959). Preparatory actions to create social change through empowerment, however, are distinct from, and should not be confused with, the use of power 7The locution of theories of power and the debate over the terms "power-over" versus "power-to" have dominated a large part of this literature (French and Raven, 1959; Barnes, 1988; Bradac & Street, 1989/90; Wartenberg, 1990; Raven, 1992). Wartenberg (1990) argues that while social theory development has tended to emphasize theories about "power-over" (e.g. force, coercion), there are significant gains to be made in social understanding by elaborating on theories about "power-to." 16 (Raven, 1992; Raven & Litman-Adizes, 1986). Features of structural power are embedded in context (Wartenberg, 1990; Lay der, 1993), creating environments that ultimately affect interpersonal power relationships. Understanding the community context of power structures and relationships appears to be necessary, although insufficient on its own, to the creation of empowering conditions. Research is ongoing regarding how power structures and relationships g influence social change, including those structures and relationships thought to be empowering (Hanna & Robinson, 1994; Labonte, 1994; Lord & Hutchison, 1993; Rappaport, 1981, 1984, 1985; Wallerstein, 1992). The concept of empowerment may be more precisely defined in terms of psychological empowerment, organizational empowerment, and community empowerment (Zimmerman, 1995).9 This differentiation, however, tends to exist more on the conceptual level than in real terms. Speer & Hughey (1995) suggest that a reciprocal relationship exists between the development of power for community organization and individual empowerment. Psychological With respect to empowerment, Wartenberg (1990) describes the "transformative" use of power. Transformative use of power is not simply an act for the benefit of the subordinate agent, but is constructed through interactions between dominant agents and subordinate agents. Transformative power relates to the dominant social agent's willingness and ability to assert power in an attempt to assist the subordinate agent's learning of skills that ultimately undercut the power differential between the two. Thus, the use of transformative power is designed to bring about its own obsolescence through empowerment of the subordinate social agent (Wartenberg, 1990). Wartenberg (1990) cautions that the superposition of situated power relationships makes it possible to ignore the transformative component of power relationships, resulting in another tool of social domination (Wartenberg, 1990). 9Zimmerman (1995) also distinguishes between psychological empowerment and other related concepts, including self-efficacy, self-esteem, competence, and mental health and power. The concept of self-efficacy is most closely related to the intrapersonal component of psychological empowerment, but represents only one part of it. Self-esteem refers to individual judgments about self-worth, but does not necessarily include perceptions associated with psychological empowerment, such as one's perceived control, participatory behaviour, critical awareness, or specific skills necessary to exert control in a particular setting. Descriptions of the concept of personal competence do not typically include sociopolitical factors. Thus, concepts inherent in psychological empowerment, such as political awareness, causal agents, and social change, are not specifically connected to the construct of competence. Psychological empowerment grows out of a conceptualization of mental health that focuses on the presence of healthy behaviour and cognition; however, mentally ill persons can be somewhat empowered despite impaired cognition. Power suggests authority over someone or something, whereas psychological empowerment is a feeling of control, a critical awareness of one's environment, and an active engagement in it. 17 empowerment for community members can be realized only through organization because the individual is situated within the community (Speer & Hughey, 1995; Zimmerman, 1995). Concepts such as empowerment, like most social phenomena, reflect individual perceptions and tend to be context-bound (Seidman & Rappaport, 1986), suggesting that experiential methods may be helpful in studying empowerment. Contextually grounded reports of life experiences within organizations and communities also are needed to enhance our understanding of citizens' experiences with participation. These latter kinds of data, however, necessarily limit generalizability (Zimmerman, 1995). Researchers may need to accept this limitation in order to measure psychological empowerment appropriately (Zimmerman, 1995). There is theoretical and empirical support for the idea that citizen participation and empowerment are linked (Florin & Wandersman, 1990; Zimmerman & Rappaport, 1988). Arnstein's (1969) typology of citizen participation differentiates between levels of citizen participation based on power. Participation in decision making can be empowering or disempowering depending on the nature and outcome of the experience (Edelstein & Wandersman, 1987). Participation may be viewed as a process or context from which various forms of empowerment may arise10 (Rich, Edelstein, Hallman & Wandersman, 1995). Rich et al. (1995) contend that community empowerment (i.e. the capacity of communities to respond Rich et al. (1995) describe several different types of empowerment, including reactive empowerment, proactive empowerment, formal empowerment, intrapersonal empowerment, instrumental empowerment, and substantive empowerment. Reactive empowerment may be defined as the capacity acquired in response to a threat, while proactive empowerment tends to facilitate the pursuit of chosen and desired activities. Formal empowerment is created when institutions (e.g. government or businesses) provide mechanisms for the public to influence decisions that interact with the characteristics of the affected citizens and their social institutions in such a way as to create real opportunities for citizens to be involved in decision making. Intrapersonal empowerment may be described as a feeling of personal competence in a given situation, instrumental empowerment is defined as individual's capacity for participating in and influencing a decision-making process. Instrumental empowerment may be determined by citizens' relevant knowledge, material resources, persuasive ability with formal opportunities, and legal standing to participate. Substantive empowerment is defined as the ability to reach decisions that solve problems or produce desired outcomes. 18 effectively to collective problems) will occur only when both individuals and institutions have been empowered to achieve substantive and satisfactory outcomes. Rich et al. (1995) assert that existing structures of participation promote an adversarial model of citizen participation in decision making, rather than a partnership approach. To this end, Perkins (1995) challenges policy makers, program planners, and researchers: 1. to pay more attention to different levels of empowerment individual, organizational, and community) to better understand the interactions between each level; 2. to promote local, grass roots efforts to cultivate empowerment, as they tend to be most effective; 3. to determine what models of empowerment work with what populations, in what settings, and by what means; 4. to more thoroughly explore the relationship between empowerment cognition, person-environment transactions, and behaviours; 5. as researchers, to become more familiar with policy-making process, its complexity, and its key players; and more comfortable with disseminating and directly applying their research, not just in a particular organization but by working with executive, legislative, and judicial policy-making bodies and advocacy organizations at all levels; 6. to follow Coleman's (1972) five steps to planning effective policy research: a) identify the parties involved in policy outcomes and who have some power or potential power to affect policy; b) determine the interest of these parties; c) identify the kinds of information relevant to their interest; d) determine the best way to obtain this information; and e) determine how to report the results; 19 7. as researchers, to become more proactive in the planning and evaluation stages of policy formation, adoption, and implementation; 8. as researchers, to adopt more of a learner/collaborator's than a scientist's role (this recommendation also implies graduate programs must train young researchers differently in the future); 9. to disseminate practical information more widely and deliver it in ways that are tailored to each audience; and 10. to attempt to better understand the qualitative knowledge about real-world empowerment processes that practitioners bring to researchers in the form of stories about specific experiences. Focusing on citizen participation as a form of empowerment is valuable in research and intervention for three reasons (Perkins, 1995): 1) As a behaviour, participation can be more directly, and therefore reliably, measured than psychological dimensions of empowerment; 2) Participation forces psychologists to consider empowerment at various levels of analysis (individual, organizational, and community); and 3) A focus on participation (i.e. people's direct interaction with their neighbours, the community environment, local organizations, and government agencies) highlights the need to understand how it affects and is affected by empowerment. Rappaport (1994) strongly emphasizes the need to continue empowerment research based on the experiences of citizens who participate in efforts to make social change. Researchers have used both qualitative and quantitative methods to attempt to unravel the potential relationship between empowerment and citizen participation. In their qualitative study 20 of fifty-five men and women who had experienced profound powerlessness in their lives, Lord & Hutchison (1993) found that as the empowerment process unfolded, access to valued resources and participation in community life reduced feelings of isolation and contributed to perceived competence and confidence of study participants. With regard to participation, Lord & Hutchison (1993) conclude that it contributes to participants' perceptions of empowerment at three levels: 1) working on issues that affect their own lives; 2) connecting with others who have had similar experiences; and 3) being involved in a range of community groups and activities. Lord & Hutchinson (1993) conclude that participation significantly advanced the process of empowerment for all study participants, and that the process was in itself an empowering experience. Using quantitative methods, Israel, Checkoway, Schulz & Zimmerman (1994) developed a survey instrument to measure perceived empowerment at the individual, organizational, community, and multiple levels. Israel et al. (1994) conclude that important correlates of these measures of empowerment include: 1) participating in organizations that attempt to influence public policy; 2) taking on active or leadership roles in voluntary organizations; and 3) believing that action is an effective means of influencing community decisions. In a recent study, Saegert & Winkel (1996), building on previous qualitative research, collected quantitative questionnaire data from people living in low-income housing co-operatives. The study examined definitions of empowerment as a function of a group achieving a shared goal, and as a psychological achievement that facilitates individuals taking on new problems confronting them and their communities (Saegert & Winkel, 1996). Conceding that the nature of their study methods do not fully capture the process of empowerment over time, Saegert & Winkel (1996) suggest that these data reflect a cross-section of experience that adds to 21 current understanding of empowerment. Based on data from 126 completed questionnaires, Saegert & Winkel (1996) conducted multivariate and path analyses to develop a four-level model. The model suggests that individual and aggregate measures of empowerment are linked with participation in activities at the co-operative building (Level 1). Participation in co-operative activities was perceived to subsequently affect living conditions in the building (Level 2), which in turn related strongly to overall measures of quality of life in the building (Level 3). Levels 1 through 3 were related to attitudinal measures of empowerment and subsequent reporting of participation in civic activities within the broader community (Level 4). Saegert & Winkel (1996) note that tests of causality were not significant when attempting to assess the influence of participation in civic activities on perceived empowerment. Despite the initial appeal these concepts hold for researchers and practitioners, it seems a great deal more research will be required to clarify whether and how citizen participation relates to empowerment. Context and Citizen Participation This section explores the influence of various aspects of political structure, social fabric, and the human-manufactured and natural environments on citizens who participate in decision making to affect the well-being of their communities.11 Contextual features of broad-based social structures interact in a dynamic way to affect micro-level relationships between people and their community (Molm, 1991). The context within which citizens experience empowerment is thought to be influenced in part by politics. A variety of fields have debated the impact of the political context on citizen participation and empowerment. For example, McCay & Jentoft nPlas & Lewis' (1996) qualitative description of the evolution of a planned town in the U.S. provides an example of how the integration of natural and built environments can affect perceived sense of community. These authors conclude that enhancing perceived sense of community should be a guiding factor in urban planning. 22 (1996) draw on lessons from fisheries management to conclude that only the social and political institutions that facilitate communication and action aimed at understanding, coordination through discussion, and re-socialization regarding community "hold some promise for breaking through the barriers to communication, trust, and mutual learning that often exist between ordinary people and scientific/administrative elites" (p. 247). Community psychologists, like health promotion researchers and practitioners, continue to debate the role and influence of politics and empowerment. For example, Smail (1994) argues that community psychologists are not in a position to influence the politics associated with empowerment, "despite an inspirational and at times positively grandiose rhetoric" (p. 3). Smail (1994) argues that there is little empirical evidence to support the rhetoric around empowerment, and suggests that researchers and practitioners have been focusing on the wrong question. He suggests that rather than focusing on promoting the importance of empowerment and relying on perception to define the concept, that community psychologists focus on determining their role in facilitating community and individual empowerment. Fryer (1994), Rappaport (1994), McGill & Hawkes (1994) provide rebuttals to Smail's (1994) chastisement. In contrast to Smail, the dissenting authors emphasize the practice-oriented advantage gained by deconstructing the assumption that power is a commodity given to others. By acknowledging the responsibility of community psychology in influencing social policy, Fryer (1994), Rappaport (1994), McGill & Hawkes (1994) favour disengaging community psychology from "doing psychotherapy" or providing "mental health care" at the community level. Hawkes rounds out the counter-argument by providing an example from the field of alcohol control to illustrate the applied nature of the discipline of community psychology. 23 Health promotion has been chastised for failing to conceptualize key ideas, such as empowerment, in terms of the politics of competition (Farrant, 1991; Stevenson & Burke, 1992). Stevenson & Burke (1992) criticized health promotion research for its "retreat from politics and the state and the problematic conceptualization of community empowerment." Labonte (1989) calls for a political analysis of community empowerment to further the work of health promotion through the use of participatory democracy and its potential influence on government policy. O'Neill (1992) cautions those planning citizen-based movements for promoting health through social change to recognize the possibilities and limits of participation within the existing political structure. Labonte (1989) describes a process of "transplantation of power and influence from those who have too much to those with little or none" (p. 88). He continues by recognizing that health promoters cannot "empower" anyone and "to presume so strips people of their capacity for choice" (Labonte, 1989, p. 87). If health promotion practitioners and researcher are to address politics, there is a need to cultivate relationships with individuals and communities that do not co-opt their ability to act in self-determining ways (Farrant, 1991). In addition, the current conceptualization of empowerment through citizen participation is influenced by factors related to social fabric. Much of the current thinking about social networks and social support grew out of the anthropological study of individuals and groups in complex 12 societies (Anderson, 1988). In reaction to the perceived inadequacies associated with the structural-functional tradition in social anthropology, researchers moved toward more flexible models of behaviour and social structure—a multiplex social model. While recognizing social 12Social networks usually refer to the size of a network of personal social contacts (Israel, 1982). Social support usually refers to both the emotional and material support people obtain from their social networks, as well more tangible forms of support such as assistance with tasks and access to information (Ell, 1984; Israel, 1985). Social network analysis is a starting point for understanding the interaction between individuals and their environment (Mitchell & Trickett, 1980), but should not be confused with the amount of support actually available to an individual. 24 norms as general expectations for behaviour, the multiplex social model asserts that individual decisions and network relationships are affected by intermediaries and extended social networks.13 For example, Fusch (1987) asserts that community-based, naturally occurring social support linkages provide "a practical vehicle for individual empowerment by enabling the individual to become aware of other individuals involved in similar oppressive conditions. . . [to] provide the opportunity and resources to redefine the problem situation or issues and to take collective action" (p. 17). The Concept of Sense of Community The built environment, social composition, and politics combine to affect individual and collective sense of community. Sense of community may be described as a strong attachment that people may experience toward others, based on factors such as where they live, work, or go to school, or with which groups they are affiliated (Davidson & Cotter, 1993). There are four components to sense of community associated with citizen participation, including: 1) membership; 2) influence; 3) integration and fulfillment of needs; and 4) emotional connection to the community (McMillan & Chavis, 1986). Research has shown that sense of community contributes to greater involvement in community activities (Maton & Rappaport, 1984; Chavis & Wandersman, 1990). Macro-level contextual factors have been shown to affect sense of community and the likelihood of participating in the political process (Davidson & Cotter, 1993; Davidson & Cotter, 1989; McMillan & Chavis, 1986). 13Maguire (1983) asserts that individual decisions and bonding processes are based on, and therefore, affected by, information and resources that flow through already established network links and that existing network links are treated as exchangeable resources (i.e. people make social contact available to one another at an agreed-upon price). 25 Using 546 telephone interviews, Davidson & Cotter (1989) measured five different types of political participation: voting, campaigning, contacting political officials, working on public problems, and talking about politics. Davidson & Cotter (1989) used multiple regression analysis to find that sense of community was significantly related to political participation. They did indicate, however, that more research is needed to clarify the amount of causal directionality or reciprocity between sense of community and political participation (Davidson & Cotter, 1989). An additional caveat in Davidson & Cotter's (1989) study cautioned the reader about the perceived link between community setting and a concept like sense of community. Davidson & Cotter (1989) tied their operationalization of the construct sense of community to the context of the city. They warn the reader that the way in which different contexts affect sense of community remains unknown. With regard to the context of the "city," Long (1986) argues that cities have become less effective as units than neighbourhoods within cities, primarily because of the blurring of city boundaries, the co-opting of politicians, and the splintering of city workers' unions. Although rare, a city-wide sense of community may be evoked in the case of common peril, such as an earthquake, or a common celebration, such as a victory in sport. It seems a sense of community subsists beneath the surface of our cities, but is more often revealed in workplaces or on the neighbourhood level where "the perceived common danger and energetically desired common good are the foundations" (Long, 1986, p. 79). Woelk (1992) also argues that the pressures of our present financial and economic crises impact negatively on local communities' attempts to create and participate in meaningful social change. On the side of economics, however, the common desire to maintain or enhance property values can stimulate neighbourhood participation. 26 The Concept of Social Capital A body of literature that has recently emerged in the field of political science is also concerned with factors affecting citizen participation in social action. The key concept in this literature is that of social capital. Putnam (1995, pp. 664—665) defines social capital as the "features of social life—networks, norms, and trust—that enable participants to act together more effectively to pursue shared objectives". Like the concept of empowerment, the concept of social capital has swiftly been adopted within academic and popular literature. Although debate among academics is far from settled, the popular media have focused public attention on the perception that western societies are suffering from declining stocks of social capital. Discussions regarding social capital (Coleman, 1988; Furstenberg & Hughes, 1995; Putnam, 1993; 1995; Ostrom, 1993; Tendler, 1995; Hertzman, 1996; Rose, 1996; Schudson, 1996; Skocpol, 1996; Tarrow, 1996) have hypothesized about western societies and the factors thought to influence the creation or depletion of social capital. Like the research on sense of community and empowerment, this work is also concerned with how citizens relate to one another and how they participate in civic life in order to effect social change. The factors most frequently associated with the decline of social capital include: free-market conservatism, big government, excessive individualism, a climate of fear and distrust, as influenced by perceptions about crime, the advent of television, changing gender roles, and the depopulation of urban neighbourhoods and the growth of discrete suburbs. There is no conclusive research on the extent of the perceived impact of these factors on social capital, empowerment, and citizen participation in decision-making. Perhaps because of their common-sense appeal, terms like empowerment and social capital were quickly adopted and freely adapted by researchers and practitioners anxious to work effectively with communities 27 in the interest of social action. Despite the abundance of rhetoric promoting grass roots-level social action (Stevenson & Burke, 1992), citizens continue to describe feeling increasingly disenfranchised from the democratic system (Putnam, 1993). Perhaps insufficient application and inappropriate adaptation of key concepts, such as empowerment, social capital and participation, have promoted diluted and simplistic approaches to social action. Rather than focusing on well-defined problems,14 social science has emphasized general approaches to "big problems".15 Models of Citizen Participation in Decision Making Citizens tend to employ a variety of participatory approaches to solving problems or achieving goals.16 Three primary processes emerge from a review of citizen participation 17 movements: co-operation, collaboration and confrontation. Discussion regarding the feasibility and practicality of broad-based citizen participation continues. Some authors have argued that the Alinsky (1971) asserted that for meaningful social action to occur problems and their associated action goals must be highly specific, realizable and immediate. The next section reviews general approaches to citizen participation that have been employed to achieve social action. 15Defining social action in terms of "small wins" (Weick, 1986), and defining social problems in manageable ways, is highly problematic. The idea of small wins presents a paradox between framing a problem and reconciling it with an evolving social context. Saranson (1986) eloquently captures the paradox of defining problem within context by stating: " the phenomenology of social action, problem changing rather than problem solving . . . , and you know what that does to solutions regardless of how you define them!..." (p. 21). The idea that social action is context dependent is central to understanding the danger in allowing the rhetoric of health promotion and population health to divert policy-makers, practitioners and researchers away from specific, "doable" actions to the grandiose and "undoable". 16Although a variety of models have been put forward (Rothman & Tropman, 1987; Freire, 1973; Alinsky, 1971; Ross, 1955), it has recently been noted that many successful citizen action groups have affected change in ad hoc ways, without formal training and without knowledge of the theoretical basis for such actions (Jacobs, 1992-3). Examination of these cases reveals that the strategies invoked by "ad hoc" community organizers strongly coincide with the existing theory (Jacobs, 1992-3). ''Participation in coalitions and alliances remains central to many efforts to promote health (Labonte, 1993; Wallerstein & Bernstein, 1988; Kaplan, 1986). Many methods to mobilize and organize communities, have been influenced by the work of the popular education movement (Taylor, 1993). Discussions regarding the processes of community organization are marked by these intrinsic concepts: empowerment, developing community competence, issue selection and creating critical consciousness (Fisher, 1993; Hawkins & Catalano, 1992; Minkler, 1992; Levin & Deneberg, 1984; Ferrinho, 1980; Bruyn, 1963). 28 principle of "maximum feasible participation" in planning for delivery of services results in disorganization and coalition splintering (Tallian, 1977; Rimmerman, 1993), a lack of accountability for decisions once made (Williams, 1991), and, to use Moynihan's (1969) term, "maximum feasible misunderstanding." Green's (1986) review of the World Health Organization's policy statements and various national policies on participation provides a theory for understanding distribution of decision-making power and participation within the realm of health policy. Green's (1986) theory outlines a synergistic relationship among active participation of local communities in identifying their own goals, setting their priorities among those goals, controlling implementation of plans to reach said goals, and obtaining feedback on their own progress. The product of this synergy is the effective adaptation of people to enhance their own health (Green, 1986). People living in Canada are afforded opportunities to participate both passively and actively in decision making about policies that affect health (Roberts, 1995; Disch, 1996; Jacobs, 1996). Passive forms of participation include efforts by public officials to inform communities of problems and proposed solutions, while seeking input into a centrally controlled planning system (Zimmerman, 1986).This style of participation, known as "participation as cooperation" (Green, 1986), was widely applied in the early days of health education and health promotion. As health education evolved and health promotion continues to evolve, its practitioners and researchers have adopted more active approaches based on writings about education, psychology, and community organization. Facilitating active participation in decision making by such means as citizen advisory groups and public hearings has become standard among health promotion practitioners (Pederson, O'Neill & Rootman, 1994; Wallerstein & Bernstein, 1988). Other forms of active participation are oriented toward citizen participation in political action. Citizens' 29 degrees of involvement in these activities range from voting in general elections to protesting on the steps of legislature buildings (Kaplan, 1986; Labonte, 1993). On the macro level, opportunities for citizen participation in decision making may be viewed as following one of three models (Green & Shoveller, 1996): 1) localized decision making about most social and health policies tempered by constitutional or fiscal power-based relationships with centralized government and corporate entities; 2) citizen participation through coalitions of local organizations to mobilize community-based resources; and 3) direct participation of citizens in decision making about public policy. In the first scenario, citizens are routinely invited to comment on government proposals to alter existing programs, policies, or delivery systems. This type of citizen "consultation" focuses on technical aspects of proposals, such as the most effective means of implementing policies. Situations like this tend to diminish the ability of citizens to achieve useful involvement 18 in decision making because they are unable to obtain a valid place at decision-making tables (Saul, 1995; Rich, Edelstein, Hallman & Wandersman, 1995; Yankelovich, 1995; Jacobs, 1996; Disch, 1996). For example, in his analysis of the 1994 Clinton Health Care Reform Plan, Yankelovich (1995) blames the failure of the plan on members of the elite leadership class in the United States for not engaging citizens in adequate deliberation regarding the plan. Yankelovich (1995) argues that the leadership class was neither prepared for nor dedicated to engaging the public in a debate on choices that citizens could understand and confront. Yankelovich (1995) asserted that the failure to engage citizen participation in debating the Health Care Reform proposal would result in increased alienation of the public and a degree of political fall-out that Kaplan's (1986) research on inter-organizational coalitions also found that there are coalitions that claim to work to "empower" people, but in effect, operate in such a way as to discourage and stifle the essence of empowerment. 30 subsequently affected the Clinton Administration's bid for re-election in 1996. Although President Clinton was re-elected, the Republican Party won the majority of seats in Congress, which poses a significant challenge to attaining the kind of health care reforms proposed by the Democrats prior to the 1996 election. In the second scenario, citizen participation in coalitions has attempted to address the dilemma of local authority versus local resource deficits. Coalitions have been successful in establishing community consensus on priorities, setting goals, outlining a division of responsibility, and advocating policy (Delaney, 1994; Wallack & Dorfman, 1996). Kaplan's (1986) in-depth study of a coalition on neighbourhood housing development issues acknowledges that coalitions have the potential to cultivate empowering conditions for people. Based on interviews with 15 members of neighbourhood housing organizations, Kaplan (1986) reveals that coalitions can also be structured to create intentionally disempowering conditions. Kaplan (1986) encourages researchers and practitioners to abandon notions frequently associated with democratic citizen action to create social change, in favour of an action-research approach to coalition building. Butterfoss, Goodman & Wandersman (1996) conducted a survey to identify key characteristics that predict coalition ability to develop action plans and to determine whether the same characteristics predict member cost/benefits, satisfaction, participation, and quality of plans. Butterfoss, Goodman & Wandersman (1996) found that competent leadership, shared As the public's mood becomes increasingly frustrated, hopeless, and fearful, some researchers fear polls will become simply a forum in which people will vent these emotions, rather than seriously consider the implications of their opinions (Yankelovich, 1996). Two potential scenarios for the future emerge from this literature. One scenario includes a future in which public opinion is disregarded because it is perceived to be either a result of media manipulation or an ill-considered product of malcontents. A second scenario relies on media manipulation of public opinion polls, with the added caveat of individual media moguls controlling where, when, and how questions are asked of whom (Guardian Weekly, December 29, 1996, p. 16-17). 31 decision making, linkages with other organizations, and a supportive environment were the key characteristics associated with successful functioning of coalitions. These factors decreased perceived costs and increased perceived benefits of participating in coalitions. These factors also affected member satisfaction and the amount of participation members dedicated to committee activities. The demands of operating organizational coalitions and partnerships in implementing programs sometimes produce perfunctory participation, overworked volunteers upholding the appearance of participation, and staff devoting so much time to the care and feeding of coalitions that they have little left for program implementation (Green & Shoveller, under review). Coalitions have generally become dysfunctional when tasked with long-term management responsibilities (Delaney, 1994). It is with the third scenario—direct citizen participation in decision making—that this study is concerned. Such participation generally takes the form of a referendum, a recall vote, or a ballot initiative. The case under study is concerned with direct citizen participation through a referendum. The Referendum: Arguments in Favour Of the various forms of direct democracy (e.g., referendums, initiatives, recall ballots), referendums are the most common vehicle through which citizens in Canada vote directly on public policy issues. This section reviews arguments for and against the conduct of referendums from political science literature. Arguments to support increased use of referendums in Canada, as beneficial and compatible supplements to our representative parliamentary system of government, have been most fully described by Boyer (1992). The argument rests on the premise that referendums increase citizen participation in decision making, which, in turn, is vital to a 32 healthy, democratic society. Citizen interaction may foster a milieu of active participation and promote thoughtful discussion of the issue among constituents, including community members, bureaucrats, and elected leaders. The accessibility inherent in the meetings opens the hierarchical system of decision making traditionally associated with representative democracy (Boyer, 1992). Cronin (1989) summarizes a number of nation-wide polls that showed the majority of Americans 21 favoured establishing some form of national referendums in the United States. Referendums also have set time limits for public discussion. This presents an alternative to ongoing committee work that often results in high rates of volunteer burnout, boredom, alienation, and lower overall participation rates (Altaian, Endres, Linzer, Lorig, Pitney & Rogers, 1991). The evidence, however, does not indicate that voter turnout is higher during referendums than during candidate elections. Butler & Ranney's (1994) analysis of candidate elections versus national referendums held between 1945 and 1993 demonstrates a negative mean difference in electorate turnout of -13 percent. This research indicates that voter turnout actually decreases during referendums, contrary to what some advocates of direct voting purport. More research needs to be completed to develop an understanding of the potential of referendums to encourage active participation in ways other than voting. Forms of active participation, such as discussing issues informally (Boyer, 1992), working in campaigns, and attending rallies (Bochel, Denver & Macartney, 1981), are less suitable to measurement than voting (Butler & Ranney, 1994; Zimmerman, 1986). In theory, referendums have the capacity to offset the intermediary roles of lobbyists, special interest groups, and party politics (Bogdanor, 1981; Boyer, 1992), although there is virtually no empirical evidence to determine the validity of this assertion. Referendums 20Ranney (1983) presents a dissenting opinion to this widely held view in his article, "Nonvoting is Not a Social Disease." 2lThe Constitution of the United States does not currently provide for holding national referendums. 33 can serve to support specific political decisions proposed or taken by a government without necessarily seeking a new electoral mandate (Butler & Ranney, 1994). Decisions reached during referendums are clear cut and guarantee the "satisfaction" of at least the majority of citizens who cast votes on the winning side. The "winners", however, may perceive the choice to be the lesser of two evils, or a polar extreme choice where they would have preferred more of a compromise. Given that the "winner" has received the most citizen support through votes, referendums have been characterized as democratic and fair means of making decisions on policy issues that affect communities (Butler & Ranney, 1994; Zimmerman, 1986). Butler and Ranney (1994) also argue that in a "system based on the principles of popular sovereignty, political equality, popular consultation, and majority rule, direct popular decisions made by referendums have a legitimacy that indirect decisions by elected representatives cannot match" (p. 15). A careful distinction should be made, however, between legitimacy and wisdom. Referendums may increase the former, but do not necessarily guarantee the latter. For example, research in the United States regarding voter attitudes toward referendums shows that while 77 to 85 percent of study respondents indicated that people should have the right to vote directly on issues, the majority did not perceive ordinary people as wiser or more honest than elected representatives (Magleby, 1984). The Referendum: Arguments Against The case against holding increased numbers of referendums is predicated on arguments relating to competencies of the electorate and responsibilities of elected officials. It has been suggested that the ordinary citizen does not have sufficient skill to assess the information involved in making policy decisions, such as protecting the rights of minorities while promoting 34 policy that serves the greater good (Hochschild, 1984). Referendums are also criticized for providing an excuse for representative government to abrogate its decision-making responsibility during times when decisions must be made on divisive issues (Waugh, 1995). These criticisms, which are substantive and open to debate, focus primarily on the philosophical compatibility of direct democracy and representative democracy. In practice, governance through frequent use of referendums does not seem to function effectively outside of Switzerland (Boyer, 1992; Butler & Ranney, 1994; Canadian Unity Information Office, 1978; Dunsmuir, 1992; Kobach, 1993). In contrast to Switzerland, most western, democratic governments prefer to supplement electoral mandates with referendums on specific issues (Boyer, 1992; Butler & Ranney, 1994; Dunsmuir, 1992). Federal, provincial, and municipal governments in Canada have generally relied on referendums to establish "specific mandates" between elections during times of great political turmoil (Boyer, 1992). Even as a supplement to traditional democratic systems, the referendum may present a conundrum for those who subscribe to participatory approaches to health promotion. For example, the finite time period for the debate preceding a referendum may place a disproportionately high value on speed and efficiency, at the expense of comprehensive policy development (Saul, 1995). and on expedient communication by mass media rather than broad-based discussion. Thoughtful, broad-based discussion among citizens, bureaucrats, and elected officials is essential in the development and implementation of policies to promote health. Too-short time frames for decision-making lead to volunteer burnout from the intensity of the citizen Hively (1996) presents a mathematical argument in support of representative government, rather than direct voting. Using the example of the electoral college in the United States, Hively illustrates that by voting for members of the electoral college American voters actually increase the amount of voting power they hold in comparison to the amount of power potentially available through a system that would permit the election of the president directly. 35 participation required during a referendum (Bochel, Denver & Macartney, 1981; Butler & Ranney, 1994; McGuigan, 1985). Health professionals note the inherent difficulty in gaining support for public health interventions during a referendum (Bonham, 1993; Emerson & Clark, 1993). Low voter turnout and general distrust of public officials are also thought to account in part for this (Bonham, 1993). Part of the difficulty may also be due to the wording of the referendum questions. Ballot measures are frequently worded in ways that may confuse. A 1980 referendum on rent control held in California provides an exceptional illustration. Magleby (1984) later showed that 23 percent of voters who had wanted to preserve rent control mistakenly voted Yes on a proposition to repeal it, while 54 percent of voters who opposed rent control mistakenly voted No. There is some evidence to suggest that in general up to 10 or 20 percent of voters cast "mistaken votes" (Magleby, 1989). Referendums lack legislative authority in Canadian provinces due to the powers and functions of the lieutenant-governor's office (Dunsmuir, 1992). Lack of legislative clout by no means overrides the political value of referendums in cases where governments publicly commit to accepting the results (Boyer, 1992; Dunsmuir, 1992). Malalignment of decision-making power and the dispersion of public sentiment regarding the issue at hand can result in a system in which only the ruling elite (elected and non-elected) make decisions (Saul, 1995). Power imbalances in finance, expertise, and political influence often exist between opponents during a referendum campaign (Hochschild, 1984). Problems around issues of who sets the question and how the question is constructed have prompted researchers to test complex interventions to aid decision-making in referendums 36 (Neijens, Minkman, de Ridder, Saris & Slot, 1996). For example, Neijens et al. (1996) studied the influence that providing additional information about referendum options has on the population's level of knowledge about the topic. Neijens et al. (1996) provided an information-choice questionnaire to a randomly selected sample of 486 residents during the first referendum held in Amsterdam. Their results demonstrate that the questionnaire did influence voter's knowledge levels about the topic. The intervention, however, was costly and did not increase voter turnout (Neijens et al., 1996). Referendums are at risk of becoming more about media spin-doctoring of issues than about broad-based discussion and participatory decision making (Waugh, 1995). Large corporations and other private interest groups have the ability to generate voluminous amounts of campaign materials, purchase television time, make campaign contributions, lobby campaign leaders, and intimidate voters to promote a viewpoint (Bochel, Denver & Macartney, 1981). Campaigns are frequently accompanied by high-priced experts to complete the "dog and pony show," often bankrolled by political action committees (Clawson, Neustadtl & Scott, 1992). Previous Studies of Health-Related Referendums The referendum is the most common direct voting tool used in Canadian municipalities (Boyer, 1992). The merits of referendums continue to be debated (Tallian, 1977; McGuigan, 1985; Hahn & Kamieniecki, 1987; Johnson, 1989; Rimmerman, 1993; Hively, 1996). Analyses of citizen participation in referendums in Canada include primarily quantitative assessments of In some cases, the nature of the substantive issue under consideration demands more than one question, or multiple response options. For example, a recent referendum in Vancouver regarding proposed changes to the system of electing city councillors included two questions. One was intended to assess the level of satisfaction regarding the existing "at large" system. The second asked about which method would be preferred for electing councillors; four response options were presented. 37 voting patterns regarding issues such as fluoridation, blue laws, extensions of municipal franchise of a private utility, and suffrage. These analyses examined correlations between political party affiliations; social status as measured by an index of income, education, and occupation; race; and voting behaviour in a variety of municipal referendums (Hahn & Kamieniecki, 1987). Analysis of this genre has allowed researchers to make generalized statements about the relationship between social status and voting patterns.24 These analyses present demographic correlates of voting, but do not account for the potential impact of local context on the process. In addition, the research has not examined the impact of the referendum process on citizens' experiences. Referendums have been employed over the years to obtain the opinions of the people on a wide variety of policy questions related to community health, including fluoridation of public water supplies (Bonham, 1993; Emerson & Clark, 1993; Jones, Mormann & Durtsche, 1989; Isman, 1983), tobacco control (Males, 1992; Traynor, Begay & Glantz, 1993), injury prevention (Hingson, Levenson, Heeren, Mangione, Rodgers, Schiavone, Hertz & Schiavone, 1988; Teret, Alexander & Bailey, 1990) and provision of health care services (Rosenstein, Joseph, MacKenzie & Wyden, 1980; Voelker, 1994). Because dental health advocates frequently lose fluoridation referendums, they have become very cautious about advocating for referendums on this issue (Bonham, 1993). Bonham (1993) argues that the problems associated with securing majority support for fluoridation in Canada exist in three main areas: 1) general social discontent with politicians and professional elite; 2) the role of the media; and 3) the inherent conflict in Yes/No options. Following a particularly disappointing referendum campaign that resulted in a 2 4 For example, voting in favour of fluoridation correlates with increased social status (Hahn & Kamieniecki, 1987). In their analysis of Canadian voting on moral issues, Hahn & Kamieniecki (1987) found that low-income is correlated with more liberal attitudes toward blue laws. 38 community of British Columbians voting out fluoridation after twenty years, Emerson & Clark (1993) ponder the disconcerting thought that the loss of this referendum reflects the public's lack of trust in dental health professionals. Traynor, Begay & Glantz (1993) present a disturbing analysis of how the tobacco industry has commandeered legislative efforts to control smoking in California. Tobacco companies pressure elected officials to hold referendums to repeal, suspend, or weaken existing tobacco legislation. In addition, they finance campaigns in favour of holding referendums regarding the repeal of existing ordinances. To manipulate the referendum outcomes, the tobacco industry has used front groups to conceal its involvement in the campaigns. With regard to injury prevention, Hingson et al. (1988) report on the referendum that resulted in the repeal of the mandatory seat belt law in Massachusetts. The analysis revealed that while the law was in place, the majority of people (61 percent) supported the law. During the referendum, fifteen percent of "supporters" switched their opinions. In a follow-up survey, the most common reason cited for voting to repeal the law was the perception that seat belt laws were an infringement of personal liberty and were not effective in reducing injury and death (Hingson et al., 1988). With regard to health care, a referendum held in Oregon in 1978 resulted in denturists being allowed to provide dentures directly to the public (Rosenstein, Joseph, MacKenzie & Wyden, 1980). This analysis credits the success of the denturists' lobby for focusing on issues of price difference, consumerism, and freedom of choice, rather than issues of dental health. Based on reports about health-related referendums, it appears that votes tend to be more 25 heavily influenced by private interests than by concerns for the public interest. In a society that 25The concept of public interest will be discussed in more detail in Chapter 3, when I describe the values I bring to this research. 39 has become increasingly focused on fulfilling individual needs, the potential for negative political consequences may be enormous when protecting the public interest appears to require personal sacrifices or compromises (Saul, 1995). The political value in heeding public opinion as expressed during referendums, is perhaps most apparent when the vote centres on an issue with 26 moral overtones, such as alcohol control. Issues related to alcohol control comprise part of the contextual backdrop to the current 27 study; however, they do not constitute the primary study purpose. There is a large and varied body of literature regarding measures taken by governments to influence consumption of alcohol products (Osterberg, 1992; Kaskutas, 1993; Edwards, et al., 1994; Rehm, Ashley, Room, Single, Bondy, Ferrence & Giesbrecht, 1996), including policy and legislative measures such as: 1) production of alcohol (Campbell, 1991; Krasnick Warsh, 1993); 2) taxation as it relates to pricing (Moser, 1980; Single & Storm, 1985); 3) buyer restrictions (Popham, Schmidt & de Lint, 1976); and 4) licensing of alcohol outlets (Krasnick Warsh, 1993; Smart & Finlay, 1976). As previously described, there is a movement toward citizen participation in policy development in general. The emerging literature regarding citizen participation in decision making on alcohol control policy is most pertinent to this study because there appear to be strong similarities between participation in decision making regarding alcohol policy and participation in decision making about other controversial issues. Moser (1980) comments that the debate for and against liberalization of these regulations has been weighted toward "prevailing sentiment rather than to evidence systematically gathered and objectively analyzed" (p. 108). Thus, attempts to control alcohol, not unlike other public policy issues, seem to have been formulated as much in response to economic conditions and public sentiment, as in response to the adverse health effects on of alcohol misuse (Campbell, 1991). The effects of historical, normative, social, cultural, and familial perspectives on experiences with alcohol are well documented (Bennett & Ames, 1985). A review of several accounts of the history of alcohol control movements (Chapman-Walsh, 1993; Campbell, 1991; Smart & Ogborne, 1986; Campbell, 1991) supports the assertion that a relationship exists between social norms, structures, and power inequities, which in turn affect the context of public policy development and implementation. 40 Citizen Participation and Alcohol Control Literature regarding alcohol control has emphasized the importance of broad-based public support for actions capable of affecting policy decisions at the local, state, and national levels (Health & Welfare, 1984; Olson, 1985; Calahan, 1987; Green, 1992; Davis, Lurigio & Rosenbaum, 1993). Researchers have applied principles associated with participation and community organization to their respective fields and, in turn, called for research regarding the role of community in affecting alcohol and other drug activity (Beauchamp, 1980; Cahalan, 1987; Davis, Lurigio & Rosenbaum, 1993). In general, citizen participation in decision-making on alcohol control policy has taken two forms: 1) citizen participation in coalitions and advocacy groups; and 2) direct citizen participation in decision-making through referendums. Citizen Participation in Coalitions and Advocacy Groups Citizen participation in coalitions to prevent alcohol and other drug problems has flourished during the past decade in North America. For example, the Centre for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) initiated the Community Partnership Demonstration Program (CPDP) in 1990 to assess the feasibility of participation in coalitions to initiate alcohol, tobacco, and other drug prevention efforts in the United States. The Community Partnership Demonstration Program is based on the premise that abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs is best prevented through the coordinated efforts of key organizations serving the community (Johnson, 1994). The Community Partnership Demonstration Program is designed to assess the implementation and maintenance of community-based prevention programs. Using a multiplistic case study design, Springer & Phillips (1994) demonstrated how local evaluators of CPDP projects could facilitate 41 local change, while influencing policy-making audiences at state and national levels. By detailing the challenges that local evaluators and policy-making audiences may experience, Springer & Phillips (1994) emphasize the importance of adopting an open, learning-system approach to improving public policy on alcohol and other drug controls. Federal demonstration projects, such as the CPDP, have primarily attempted to shift the emphasis in planning away from centralized, federal control and towards decentralized, local, community-based organizations. The approaches to including citizen participation in community-based organizations and their resultant programs and policies have varied. Citizens have tended to be directly involved in advocacy groups that affect policy and programs to prevent alcohol and other drug problems. Citizen participation in grassroots 28 advocacy movements, such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), have made considerable contributions to policy and legislative measures designed to increase public safety and encourage responsibility (Casswell & Gilmore, 1989; Wagenaar & Wolfson, 1994). Grassroots advocacy groups have employed tactics that range from direct lobbying of elected officials, to media advocacy, to altering public perceptions regarding the social acceptability of driving while intoxicated (Wallack & Dorfman, 1996; DeJong, 1996). Community-based efforts are emerging as a strong force in shaping the form of alcohol control policy and its implementation (Woodhouse & Livingood, 1991; Hawkins & Catalano, 1992; Davis, Lurigio & Rosenbaum, 1993; Charles & Demaio, 1993; Holmila, 1995; Lewis, Paine-Andrews, Fawcett, Fransisco, Richter, Copple & Copple, 1996). For example, community-based coalitions to reduce illegal sales of alcohol to minors have been demonstrated to be 28Marshall & Oleson (1994) critique ". . . MADD's failure to take a public health position on alcohol policy... (p. 58) and assert that their position as the most powerful leader in the anti-drunk driving movement has been compromised by concentrating the debate on individual alcohol abusers and by accepting money from the alcohol industry. 42 effective (Lewis, et al., 1996). Lewis, et al. (1996) evaluated the effects of a community-based coalition to reduce illegal sales of alcohol and tobacco products to minors in Witchita, Kansas. They arranged for 22 adolescents to visit 100 stores that sold either cigarettes or alcohol. Prior to the "sting operation," a press conference was held to raise community awareness regarding how easily minors could purchase these products. The minors then attempted to purchase cigarettes or alcohol. Negative citations were issued to clerks who were willing to sell to minors and positive commendations were issued to those who were not willing to sell to minors. After this intervention, the adolescents again visited the stores. For those liquor stores receiving negative citations, there was a distinct decrease selling alcohol to minors, from 83% to 33%. There was also a decrease in those liquor stores which received positive commendations, from 45% to 36%. Thus, regardless of the nature of the intervention (negative citation or positive commendation), simply interacting with store clerks regarding their selling behaviours appears to have at least a short-term influence on the sale of alcohol to minors. Casswell and Gilmore's (1989) quasi-experimental comparison of six cities in New Zealand evaluated a community action approach to alcohol problem prevention. Casswell and Gilmore (1989) used general population survey data to compare general attitudes about alcohol and to compare support for control policies on advertising, availability and price across three groups of cities. Two treatment cities were exposed to an alcohol-focused community organizer and a media campaign, while two other cities were exposed to the media campaign only, and two reference cities received no intervention. Casswell and Gilmore's (1989) results indicate that support for control measures increased in the treatment cities, while support for these kinds of measures decreased in reference cities. Although the results in the treatment cities seem promising, Casswell and Gilmore (1989) acknowledge that the intervention may have 43 temporarily stemmed a national trend toward greater public support for liberalization of alcohol control policies and regulations. Clapp (1995) presents a qualitative case study of an organizing effort to reduce alcohol and other drug problems in one inner city neighbourhood in a large southern California city. The study took place during the first six months of a community organizing project. The study investigated the process used to mobilize neighbours to meet the project aims, which included: empowering neighbours to address their problems by working together and reducing or eliminating illegal drug activity and crime. Clapp (1995) concludes that community-based organizing efforts can reduce illicit drug activities in neighbourhoods. Through activities that facilitate resident interaction and collective problem solving, communities can develop a mechanism through which alcohol and other drug problems can be addressed. Clapp (1995) indicates that the community-based approach is better suited to addressing the complexities associated with alcohol and other drug problems and that, with sustained participation, community members can improve their social and physical conditions. The increased emphasis on citizen participation has resulted in a broadening of the prevention agenda regarding alcohol and other drugs. Chapman-Walsh (1990) commends those who have re-politicized prevention using a systems perspective on alcohol to widen the framework within which public health operates. Pittman (1993) challenges policy makers to create broad policy initiatives that lessen the impact of alcohol-related problems: Environmental factors that impact alcohol problems are broader than such questions as alcohol availability, adverting, and the alcohol beverage industry's marketing practices. . . . It is much easier to mandate warning labels. . .or propose further restrictions on alcohol advertising or alcohol availability than to address 44 and enact legislation to reduce social inequality, racism, discrimination, and inadequate health care. . .(p. 169). Based on the success of grass roots groups and coupled with localized success in preventing alcohol- and drug-related problems, an increasing number of community-based organizations are becoming involved in prevention efforts (Hawkins & Catalano, 1992). They suggest three broad strategies for prevention efforts through community building: consciousness raising, public advocacy, and community development. An emphasis on empowerment of communities and policy makers has become prevalent in the alcohol control literature (Office For Substance Abuse Prevention, 1990; Lewis, Paine-Andrews, Fawcett, Francisco, Richter, Copple & Copple, 1996). As we come to understand the complex nature of alcohol problems within our communities, the "growing consensus is that effective responses will need to be equally complex and comprehensive" (M. Klitzner cited in Davis, Lurigio & Rosenbaum, 1993, p. 201). Citizen Participation in Referendums on Alcohol Control Direct citizen participation in decision making about alcohol control policy has most commonly occurred through referendums. Canadians have a long and often tumultuous history with referendums on alcohol (Boyer, 1992; Campbell, 1991; Krasnick Warsh, 1993). Canada's first national referendum was held in 1898 and concerned the prohibition of alcohol (Boyer, 1992). Of the forty-nine provincial referendums in Canada's history, nearly two-thirds (31 referendums) focused on alcohol control (Boyer, 1992) In particular, residents of British Columbia are familiar with referendums, having experienced a total of ten provincial referendums—half of which were about alcohol control (Boyer, 1992; Krasnick Warsh, 1993). Numerous municipalities, including Vancouver, in all provinces, have held referendums related 45 to questions on alcohol control (Krasnick Warsh, 1993). According to City Hall Records, Vancouver held 26 neighbourhood referendums on alcohol control between 1973 and 1993. Campaigns associated with previous referendums on alcohol control have been particularly acrimonious due to the moral issues associated with alcohol control (Campbell, 1991). The opinions of the "wets" versus the opinions of the "drys" have been set in diametrical opposition, frequently resulting in divisive and destructive actions on both sides (Krasnick Warsh, 1993). The emergence of citizen participation as a major factor in the development, implementation, and evaluation of policies to prevent alcohol and other drug problems presents a variety of questions for health promotion practitioners and researchers. Previous research regarding referendums on alcohol control has focused primarily on quantitative assessments of voting patterns (Boyer, 1992) and historical accounts of the evolution of alcohol policy and legislation (Krasnick Warsh, 1993; Campbell, 1991). As the complexities of defining the problem of alcohol control continue to emerge, the need for citizens to act as leaders becomes paramount. Citizens as Campaign Leaders Although there is a substantive body of literature regarding the general notion of citizens as leaders, research from the standpoint of citizens who become involved as campaign leaders in referendums appears to be limited. A brief review of issues related to citizen leadership, One assumption about government control of alcohol availability in Canada has been that provincial governments have entered the "business" of selling alcohol for reasons related to revenue rather than as a "trustee" of the public welfare (Campbell, 1993). In a historical analysis, Campbell (1993) describes an evolution where, as tensions escalate between political constituents with more traditional values regarding drinking alcohol and those less conservative constituents, provincial governments began to foster more localized decision-making with respect to the sale and distribution of alcohol. This devolution of power, coupled with increased demands from action-oriented groups of constituents (e.g., Mothers Against Drinking Drivers), creates a complex political and social context within which to conduct referendums about alcohol control. 46 however, may help orient the reader to the idea of citizen leadership. Three themes emerge from the general literature on leadership: the "great person" archetype; the "designated and official" model of leadership; and the "right person for the circumstance" tradition of leadership (Ross & Hendry, 1957; Barber, 1984; Hallman, 1984; Dyson & Dyson, 1989). The great person theory of leadership maintains that leaders are born to attain pre-eminence by unique achievements, such as the caliber of Einstein. This is the person who is ahead of the group. Alternatively, a person who is designated leadership by some official process assumes the head of the group status. Thirdly, the person who emerges in a given situation as being capable of helping the group achieve its purpose can be viewed a head of his or her group. Alinsky (1968) cuts through the conceptual complexity often associated with the literature on leadership to define a leader as " . . . a guy [sic] who has a following. . .]. Alinsky (1968) elaborates on this succinct description by explaining that individual leadership (i.e., a person with a following) exists when individuals represent specific issues. He explains that the concept of community leadership emerges as individual leaders begin to examine and foster cooperation among their shared peripheries. Participation of citizens as leaders from multiple sectors is desirable, even necessary, for successful development of community leadership (Alinsky, 1968; Hallman, 1984)). The development of community leadership is inherent to the success of any community-based approaches to social action (Bolton, 1991). Leadership can contribute to empowerment through two different pathways: 1) the direct empowering influence that key leaders may have on members; 2) the indirect effect through leaders' capacity to motivate and influence those (e.g., staff, small group leaders) who interact regularly with most setting members (Maton & Salem, 1995). 47 Leadership may be described as inspirational, talented, shared and committed. Inspirational refers to the leaders' ability to strongly motivate and inspire members (Maton & Salem, 1995). Talented leaders have good interpersonal and organizational skills (Maton & Salem, 1995). Talented leaders work well with others, mobilize resources, maintain stability of the setting, support setting change and evolution, and respond effectively to external threats (Maton & Salem, 1995). Rost (1991) describes the collaborative nature of leadership as reflecting the mutual purposes of leaders and followers. In this way, community leadership does not necessarily reflect the formal, positional leaders within the community. Leadership tends to be shared among several people, rather than resting solely with one person and tends to be open to expansion as new leaders emerge (Maton & Salem, 1995). Leaders are committed to the setting (e.g., neighbourhood). Leaders encourage full membership participation in decision-making and view this kind of involvement as an asset and not as a threat to their leadership. Foster (1989) also argues that leadership is a function of a community of individuals acting together. Community leadership often emerges as a function of concerned citizens (Langone & Rohs, 1995). Leaders tend to be creative problem-solvers (Lord & Hall, 1992). Leaders tend to be described as people who can tolerate a great deal of ambiguity, yet have the capacity to find solutions to specific problems (Lord & Hall, 1992). Langone & Rohs (1995) assert that citizens tend to become involved as leaders because they feel responsible for what goes on in their community. Leadership is perceived to be a dynamic concept that is contextually-bound (Maton & Salem, 1995). Maton & Salem (1995) assert that leadership refers to the qualities of key individuals with formal and/or informal responsibility for a setting. The influence of context (e.g., actors, time and place) is evident in Perreault's (1993) discussion regarding "reciprocal" 48 leadership. Perreault (1993) asserts that leadership is shared by different individuals at different times depending on the context and the skills required. For example, Betten & Hershey's (1991) analysis of "urban political boss" during the late 1880s suggest that leadership capacity tends to hinge on the ability to unify a diaspora of constituents, while building on the formal structures of 30 leadership within the community. Citizen leadership tends to be differentiated according to indigenous and non-indigenous leaders. Alinsky (1969) describes indigenous leaders as the ". . . real representatives of the people of the community. . ." (p. 64). The concept of indigenous leaders emphasizes the importance of citizen leaders' attachment to community, as well as the community's identification with the leader. Non-indigenous community leaders are more often referred to as community organizers. Community organizers tend to be people who are trained either professionally (e.g., social workers) or people who receive less formal training (e.g., consumer advocates) to act in a leadership capacity within the community. The most successful attempts to develop strong citizen leadership often occur when community organizers work with indigenous leaders to 31 develop a plan for social action. There has been little research conducted based on the experiences of citizens who become involved as campaign leaders in referendums. This overview provides this study with some hypotheses as to why and how some citizens become involved as campaign leaders during referendums. Betten & Hershey's (1991) emphasize the importance of building community leadership by cultivating a system of leadership that exists in parallel to formal structures: leadership among the social organizations and service clubs. 31Although I will elaborate more on this point in the final chapter of this dissertation, I want to take this opportunity to alert the reader to Alinksy's (1968) warning regarding "getting hung up on " the idea of indigenous leaders. In essence, Alinsky argues that the initial leaders that emerge at the outset of any organizing attempt will inevitably be from the middle class, this, he argues, does not preclude the truly indigenous leaders from emerging as the process of organizing and activating citizen participation progresses. 49 Direct Voting in Context The present socio-political context provides an interesting set of conditions to consider when studying citizen participation and direct voting. Direct citizen participation in decision making about policy issues tends to be facilitated by decentralized models of governance (Boyer, 1992; Lewis, 1995). The Canadian decision-making system is becoming increasingly decentralized through the spatial redistribution of administrative authority to local offices of the central government and the transfer of some significant decision making to local authorities, with only broad principles determined by central governments (Lewis, 1995; Putnam, 1993). Trends toward decreasing centralization and direct citizen participation in planning healthful public policy (Lewis, 1995; Roberts, 1995) mean that federal and provincial policy makers will look to municipal authorities to assume responsibility for health-related policy decisions. To ease the discomfort associated with working in this newly decentralized and participatory environment, elected officials may rely increasingly on decision making tools that have at least some degree of familiarity. Therefore, it is reasonable to predict that tools intended to facilitate direct citizen participation in decision making between elections, such as the referendum, are likely to be employed more frequently. What remains unclear from the literature is whether and how the tenet of citizen participation functions within a decentralized decision-making context. As the decision-making environment changes and perspectives on participation evolve, citizen participation should be considered as an emerging concern facing the field of health promotion. 50 Summary of Review of Literature The literature reflects the importance of citizen participation as a philosophical touchstone for health promotion research and practice. Reports in the literature describe ways to facilitate citizen participation in decision making about public policy according to three general approaches, including: 1) decentralized decision making tempered by constitutional or fiscal control by centralized government and corporations; 2) coalitions to coordinate community-based resources; and 3) direct participation of citizens in decision making. The first two have met with mixed success and failure. The failures have suggested that gaining broad-based representation of the voices not previously heard in the planning process has been problematic. With regard to direct participation in referendums, the literature contains a number of descriptions of health-related referendums. Based on a review of the specific literature on health-related referendums, there seems to be similarities between decision-making processes about alcohol control and decision-making about other health-related issues. In general , these kinds of referendums tend to result in controversial, divisive and acrimonious campaigns between extremely polarized policy alternatives. What remains unexplored is whether and how the referendum process influences individual and community experiences with participating in referendums. The purpose of this study is to generate hypotheses about what citizens experience when they become leaders in campaigns about controversial, health-related referendums. 51 C H A P T E R 3: M E T H O D S Aims of Chapter 3 This chapter provides an outline of the processes that guided this study, including: 1) the rationale for the approach and the assumptions; 2) the data sources; 3) the nature of the data; 4) the methods followed; 5) the presentation of the findings; and 6) the criteria for assessing the approach. Rationale for Study Approach Within the field of health promotion, there has been a shift in emphasis from disease prevention that focuses solely on biological explanations of health and illness, towards a view that incorporates the socio-environmental factors (Gottlieb & Green, 1984; Green & Raeburn, 1990; Lincoln, 1992; Caplan, 1993; Goodman, Steckler, Hoover & Schwartz, 1993; Manson-Singer, 1994; Hancock, 1994; O'Neill, Rootman & Pederson, 1994; Labonte & Robertson, 1996; Wallack & Dorfman, 1996). In concert with this trend, scholars have ventured farther away from the so-called "conventional paradigm" to explore alternative methodological approaches to health promotion research and practice (Marcus Lewis, 1996). As the field of health promotion continues to test and modify its existing theory base, several authors have presented convincing arguments for adopting a constructivist paradigm (Lincoln, 1992; Engel & Kuzel, 1992; Reicher, 1994; Denzin & Lincoln, 1994; Sandelowski, 1996; Marcus Lewis, 1996; Mitchell, 1996; Labonte & Robertson, 1996; Poland, 1996). As theory guiding health promotion practice is continually revised and expanded, some researchers and practitioners assert that a constructivist approach is more useful to understand the meaning of health, and that it coincides with 52 participatory approaches to planning programs and policies (Lincoln, 1992; Kelly & VanVlaederen, 1995; Labonte & Robertson, 1996). Most writers are careful to acknowledge that it would be an error to ignore the cumulative research efforts of those scientists working within the conventional paradigm, even as the value of the potential contributions of the constructivist paradigm are explored (Marcus Lewis, 1996; Labonte & Robertson, 1996). The commensurability of the conventional and constructivist paradigms, however, continues to be debated (Shadish, 1993; Denzin & Lincoln, 1994; Labonte & Robertson, 1996). Nevertheless, few health promotion researchers and practitioners would argue with Lincoln's statement during her keynote address at the Qualitative Health Research Conference and in a similar presentation at the First Canadian National Conference on Health Promotion Research, when she stated: ". . . health promotion research is in a watershed era. Health promotion itself is a new concept, with considerably larger possibilities for answering questions that are either unaddressable or not well addressed by conventional inquiry" (Lincoln, 1992b, p. 389). There are implicit linkages between the constructivist world view and the emerging vision of health promotion (Lincoln, 1992). For example, the use of socially-constructed language, such as lifestyle, wellness, and health promotion, connote multiple versions of "truth". For example, what some individuals perceived as healthy living may not be perceived in the same manner by others. In addition, health promotion researchers, practitioners, and those formerly known as "subjects," are increasingly made aware of the notion of monistic versus dualistic interactions between stakeholders during research and practice (Rootman & O'Neill, 1994; Labonte, 1994; Marcus Lewis, 1996; Eakin, Robertson, Poland, Coburn & Edwards, 1996). Indeed, much has been written about radical changes occurring in health promotion 53 research and practice with regard to power relationships (Green, 1990; Labonte, 1994; Israel, Checkoway, Schula & Zimmerman, 1994; Hancock, 1994; Collins, 1995; Eakin, Robertson, Poland, Coburn & Edwards, 1996). Most overtly, the linkages between the constructivist approach and health promotion are illustrated by the practical realities associated with a naturalistic study of health (Thorne, 1991; Lincoln, 1992; Green, George, Daniel, Frankish, Herbert, Bowie, & O'Neill, 1995; Morse & Field, 1995; Labonte and Robertson, 1996; Poland, 1996). To provide further backdrop to my discussion of the approach taken in this study, it is necessary to outline the ontological and epistemological assumptions that influenced my work. The constructivist approach assumes a relativist ontology (Schwandt, 1994); it assumes that there are multiple realities that individuals create through their understanding of the natural world (Guba & Lincoln, 1989, 1994). In this sense, realities are dependent for their form and content on their interpreters (Schwandt, 1994). For constructivists, knowledge is composed of constructions of realities about which there is some consensus among those competent to deal with the substance of the construction (Lincoln, 1992). With regard to epistemology, constructivists assume that all "facts" are theory laden; that is, one's perception of reality is influenced by, and will vary according to, one's preconceived theories, concepts, and ideas. Values are also seen as essential to shaping the inquiry outcomes (Lincoln, 1992). Constructivists assume a monist, rather than a dualist, approach to inquiry (Lincoln, 1992). From the monist perspective, the inquirer and the inquired-into are merged into a single, interactive entity (Guba & Lincoln, 1989). Ultimately, a monist stance assumes that data are created as a result of the interaction between the inquirer and the inquired-into, rather than the inquirer being objective and independent of the knowledge creation process. Constructivists 54 assume a hermeneutic approach to constructing knowledge in the sense that data are solicited and refined based on an iterative process between and among the investigator and the respondents (Lincoln, 1992; Schwandt, 1994). These data are compared and contrasted dialectically in an effort to come to a consensus about meaning (Guba & Lincoln, 1989). Constructivists tend to employ qualitative methods more frequently than quantitative methods, although the paradigm does not preclude the use of quantitative methods to investigate particular questions, such as: "How many?" (Lincoln, 1992; Labonte & Robertson, 1996). Constructivists also rely simultaneously on a combination of inductive and deductive reasoning to understand, compare, and contrast the constructions of realities (Schwandt, 1994). The Case for Qualitative Research Strategies Qualitative research strategies are most often used when little is known about an issue, when the researcher suspects that existing knowledge or theories may be biased, or when the research question pertains to understanding and describing a particular phenomenon (Patton, 1987; Morse & Field, 1995). Public health research attempts to both describe and understand communities (Baum, 1995). Baum (1995) argues that qualitative research is: most likely to be used in public health in three main ways: to study and explain the economic, political, social and cultural factors which influence health and disease; to gain an understanding of how communities and individuals within them interpret health and disease; and to study interactions between the various players who are relevant to any given public health issue (p. 464). 55 In seeking to understand what happens when citizens participate as campaign leaders during a referendum, this study needed to begin with a very broad set of questions about contextual factors influencing the neighbourhood, the topic under debate, and the process of participating. Qualitative strategies encourage researchers to enter into an investigation with a broad interest ". . . rather than prematurely delimit the study with a narrow research question. Narrowness distracts the researcher from seeing the whole picture" (Morse, 1994, p. 226). This approach is suited to uncovering the unexpected and exploring areas that have previously been left unexplored or have been not thoroughly understood. As such, qualitative inquiry demands a high degree of flexibility so that data gathering can respond to an increasingly refined research question (Patton, 1987; Glaser, 1992). My methodology was most influenced by the principles of grounded theory, especially those related to the constant comparative method of data analysis. Grounded theory is a general methodology for generating hypotheses and developing theory from qualitative data that has been systematically gathered and analyzed (Glaser & Strauss, 1967; Chenitz & Swanson, 1986). It has been used in combination with ethnography (Hammersley, 1992), and with phenomenology (Charmaz, 1990; Skodol Wilson & Hutchinson, 1991). Grounded theory is concerned with experiences of everyday life and aims to further understand the social process by describing the social and psychological processes underlying or shaping life experience (Glaser & Strauss, 1967). One of the tenets of grounded theory, around which there appears to be a high degree of consensus, is that it should contribute to the substantive knowledge to be applied within disciplines or professions (Glaser & Strauss, 1967; Glaser, 1978; Glaser, 1992; Strauss & Corbin, 1994). Scholars of grounded theory have an obligation to study participants, and society at large, in order to apply their findings at some level and to build better understandings of the 56 social world (Glaser, 1992; Strauss & Corbin, 1994). Thus, it is not surprising that a methodology built on a tenet of social obligation should be reshaped by researchers working in applied fields. Grounded theory has evolved as a research approach and different interpretations of the 32 methods associated with this approach have been provided. Researchers in a variety of fields, including health promotion (Dolan Mullen & Reynolds, 1978; Dolan Mullen, 1978), have argued for and employed purists approaches to grounded theory procedures (Charmaz, 1990; Baker, Wuest & Stern, 1992), or have promoted and used grounded theory approaches in combination with variations of other methods (Skodol Wilson & Hutchinson, 1991; Clarke & Fujimura, 1992; 33 Jensen & Allen, 1994). J There is little consensus in the literature on this issue. For example, in 1992 Wuest, along with co-authors Baker and Stern, argued for methodological purity. However, Wuest has more recently proposed an integration of sorts—that between grounded theory and feminist theory.34 While recognizing the tensions between the two main approaches with respect to analysis of data, Wuest (1995) identifies grounded theory as a perspective that views women as knowers and their experience as a legitimate source of knowledge. The originators of grounded theory, Barney Glaser and Anselm Strauss, have taken the approach in different directions since their initial collaboration in the mid-1960's (Glaser, 1978, 1992; Strauss, 1987; Strauss & Corbin, 1990; Robrecht, 1995). The two diverge on the process of emergence versus forcing analysis. Glaser argues that Strauss prescribes canons for an excessively structured and somewhat prescriptive approach to analysis (Glaser, 1992). Strauss (1987; Strauss & Corbin, 1990) argues that his structured approach to coding results in more dense and precise theory. Glaser (1992) provides a detailed account of the differences between the two approaches. Strauss & Corbin (1990) argue, that as with any general methodology, the application of grounded theory procedures has varied with "the specific of the area under study, the purpose and focus of the research, the contingencies faced during the project..." (Strauss & Corbin, 1994, p. 276). Despite the obvious split within grounded theory, both originators and their followers would agree that in essence, "[f]he grounded theory is rooted in data" (Glaser, 1978, p. 38), rather than comparing raw data with formally stated hypotheses based on theories deduced previously in the literature. The difference of opinion persists as to the appropriateness of modified and codified approaches. 3 4 While recognizing the tensions between the two main approaches with respect to analysis of data, Wuest (1995) recognizes that grounded theory views women as knowers and their experience as a legitimate source of knowledge. 57 As researchers grapple with the issues of methodological orthodoxy, leaders in the field describe the evolution of qualitative research as having entered a "fifth moment," whereby the ". . . search for grand narrative will be replaced by more local, small-scale theories fitted to specific problems and specific situations" (Denzin & Lincoln, 1994, p. 11). The idea of generating uniquely suitable methodological approaches for each research endeavour is not a foreign concept to naturalistic researchers (Guba & Lincoln, 1981; Lincoln & Guba, 1985; Meyers, 1981; Patton, 1987). The method used in any specific study depends on the nature of the question, the expected outcomes of the research, the constraints of the setting, the subjects, and the resources available to the researcher (Morse & Field, 1995). I required a methodological approach that would facilitate an understanding of the perspective of the people being studies, capture conditions and processes as they develop over time, allow concepts, theoretical relationships and hypotheses to emerge from the data in an inductive manner, and explore the very complex process of participation without oversimplifying (Dolan Mullen & Reynolds, 1978). The literature does not include a clear explanation about what happens when citizens participate as leaders in referendum campaigns. To facilitate the development of knowledge about the process of participating in a referendum, I required a method that both accounted for variation within a specific case and facilitated the generation of hypotheses that could be further tested with other methods. The constant comparative method, a key feature of grounded theory, provides explicit principles to guide data analysis (refer to subsequent sections for more details and examples of data analysis process). As a novice to qualitative research, the specificity and rigor associated with applying the constant comparative approach to data analysis helped me establish a useful system of checks and balances during data analysis. Illustrative examples of how the constant 58 comparative method was applied during my analysis are included in subsequent sections of this chapter. Thus, a blending of principles of phenomenology, ethnography and grounded theory influenced my research approach, to yield a uniquely suitable method for the purpose and context ' of this study. To understand participating as a referendum campaign leader as a social phenomenon, a method was required that: 1) examined underlying social and psychological influences; 2) relied on detailed descriptions from citizens about what was involved in and what explained their experiences; and 3) encouraged citizens to talk about the meaning they associated with those experiences. Data Sources In addition to the nature of the question and the available data, the type of data sources need to be taken into account when devising an appropriate research strategy (Morse & Field, 1995). This study used in-depth, reflective descriptions of the experience of participation in the referendum process to formulate conceptual representations of a variety of constructed realities. Sampling within qualitative research aims to select information-rich informants who provide in-depth descriptions of experiences (Patton, 1987; Glaser & Strauss, 1967). In this study, a sampling strategy was applied that relied on in-depth reflective descriptions, or stories, generated by a small group of individuals. Stories are not a scarce resource; however, often the stories of ordinary people are an ignored or devalued resource for the social sciences (Rappaport, 1995). The following method was used to recruit study participants who could presumably provide rich descriptions of their experiences. 59 At the outset of this study, I intended to explore the experiences of campaign leaders from both sides of the Referendum on whether or not a new beer and wine store should be built. By definition, "leaders" connotes "a few people." The exclusive focus on campaign leaders was not meant to dismiss the value that may be gained by studying the Referendum experiences of other citizens in the neighbourhood. The experiences of citizens in the neighbourhood, however, would have represented an opportunity for a study with a different intent. I was interested in those individuals who participated in the Referendum as campaign leaders, not simply as voters. Initially, I developed a list with the identities of all the campaign leaders associated with the Referendum. To do so, I reviewed accounts of the Referendum from one of Vancouver's daily papers and from the two neighbourhood weekly newspapers in order to identify people who had been named as campaign leaders. In total, five people were identified as campaign leaders in the newspaper accounts: Two people were portrayed in support of the Hotel's application and three people were described as against it. The three people cited in newspaper articles as opposing the application were also named as defendants in a related lawsuit filed by the Hotel management in British Columbia's Supreme Court.35 Study participants were recruited into the sample based on their ability to provide rich descriptions of their experiences as a result of the high levels of investment of their time and effort during the Referendum. Participants were also recruited on the basis that their actions were visible to the public and, thus, may have gained the attention of the general citizenry during the campaign. At this point, I wanted to know if the newspaper reports had missed anyone who might have been involved as a campaign leader. I consulted a professional colleague working in Two Vancouver newspapers published articles that included a review of those campaign leaders named in a libel suit launched by the Hotel in B.C. Supreme Court in September, 1993. 6 0 the field of drug and alcohol prevention within the neighbourhood under study. This professional source named the same five individuals identified previously through newspaper accounts and concurred with the newspaper reports on which campaign leaders supported and which ones opposed the application. Initially, I thought it may have been appropriate to have included this professional colleague in this sample of "campaign leaders." When I investigated this possibility by talking to my colleague about his role and the role of his agency in the Referendum, he clearly stated that neither he nor his agency took on any leadership roles within the Referendum. Next, I reviewed the public documents available from the Office of the City Clerk regarding the Referendum. The five campaign leaders identified in newspaper accounts, and by the professional source, were also identified in minutes from two public meetings regarding the Referendum. As a final check to ensure that I knew who the campaign leaders were, I asked each person who agreed to be interviewed to identify the other campaign leaders involved in the Referendum. The people who agreed to be interviewed named the same five people as campaign leaders and identified them consistently with their respective positions —- either in support of, or opposed to, the Hotel's application. Initially, I sent a letter of introduction to two campaign leaders — one who supported the application and one who opposed the application. These two people were selected to receive the letter of introduction first because they were the most prominent campaign leaders cited in all available accounts of the Referendum. I recruited campaign leaders into the study slowly, rather than contact all potential leaders at one time, in order to allow for time to transcribe the The agency that employs my colleague is a community-based alcohol and other drug prevention service. This agency is located in Mount Pleasant. 61 interviews, to modify the interview guide where necessary, and to begin the early stages of analysis before recruiting more study participants. The letter of introduction detailed the purpose of this study and the methods that I would follow, and was printed on the University of British Columbia (UBC) letterhead. The content of the letters was reviewed and approved by the UBC Human Subjects Review Committee prior to being mailed to campaign leaders. Within ten days of mailing the letters of introduction, one of the individuals, identified as a campaign leader who supported the Hotel's application, responded to my letter. This individual telephoned me, but declined to participate in the study based on a hesitancy to revisit the unpleasant experiences of being on the losing side of the Referendum. After receiving her response, I sent a letter of introduction to another campaign leader who supported the campaign. The second campaign leader, identified as a supporter of the Hotel's application, initially agreed to participate in the study. An interview appointment was scheduled, but was later cancelled by the campaign leader because of the time constraints associated with operating his business, which is located in the neighbourhood. A second appointment was scheduled, and was subsequently cancelled. The campaign leader again cited time demands from his business as the reason for cancelling the appointment. When I attempted to reschedule by telephone, this campaign leader stopped returning my calls. After consulting with members of my supervisory committee, I decided to send a second letter requesting an appointment at a mutually convenient time and place. This campaign leader did not respond to this letter. I concluded, in consultation with members of my committee, that the guidelines of the UBC Human Subjects Review Committee precluded me from further attempts to interview this campaign leader. With the three campaign leaders (and two additional key informants, described later), the focus and purpose of 62 the study were further narrowed to an examination of the experiences of citizen leaders who opposed the proposal to build a new beer and wine store in Mount Pleasant. All three campaign leaders were named in newspaper accounts as having opposed the application for a new beer and wine store. For this reason, these campaign leaders are referred to in this dissertation as "opposition campaign leaders." At this point it may be helpful to clarify the use of the term "opposition campaign leaders." In earlier stages of my work, the opposition campaign leaders were referred to as "neighbourhood leaders" — a label that may have created a set of inappropriate assumptions with regard to their roles. All of the opposition campaign leaders lived in the neighbourhood of interest and they each fulfilled both active and prominent roles in a campaign against the Hotel's application for a permit to open a new beer and wine store. During the Referendum, they planned, organized, and implemented the campaign opposing the application for a new beer and wine store. As opposition campaign leaders, they made decisions about strategies and encouraged other citizens to vote against the application, and were sued for libel by the hotel making the application. They indicated that they had been verbally harassed, physically intimidated, and had their property damaged as a result of taking a public stance against the application. The three opposition campaign leaders who participated in this study did not describe themselves as being part of the formal leadership structure within this neighbourhood; however, they did describe themselves as being the only people to take on leadership roles in the campaign opposing the application. They also reflected on the high levels of time and effort invested, and the risks involved in participating in the Referendum. The opposition campaign leaders described their actions as being visible to the public, and as having captured the attention and sentiment of the general citizenry during the debate and Referendum. Although opposition campaign leaders did not attempt to represent the opinions of those 63 campaign leaders who supported the application, they did present three unique lenses through which their experiences with the Referendum were reflected. The process of interviewing spanned six months (May 1995 through October 1995). The first interview was held in May, 1995, as a result of a response to my letter of introduction received from one of the opposition campaign leaders. This particular opposition campaign leader had received significant newspaper coverage. My initial interview with him lasted two-and-a-half hours. It took weeks of concentrated work to transcribe his interview, which he subsequently reviewed and edited in order to clarify, qualify, or add to his statements. I also spent much of this time re-reading his transcript, writing initial memos about it, and coding the first ten pages. After discussing the transcript with this opposition campaign leader by telephone, we decided to meet again to give him an opportunity to elaborate on the issue of community participation in making policy decisions. This resulted in another two-hour interview to follow up on the process of becoming involved in decision making, the aftermath of the referendum process, and a concern he had about misrepresenting his stance on the democratic process in his initial interview. Again, I transcribed the taped interview and provided the transcript for his review. We talked about the completeness of his story, and at that point he indicated that he had no more to add. Throughout this process, I wrote memos regarding analysis of these data, the processes of interviewing, transcribing, and coding. I also thought about how this experience would help me prepare to interview the next opposition campaign leader. To this end, I made minor changes to the interview guide, which were described in my memos. Although the changes were minor, I wanted to make sure that the questions in the interview guide included ideas that emerged in the first interview, that the questions were phrased in such a way as to help the next 64 study participant tell his or her story, and that the questions around the concepts that had emerged during the follow-up interview with the first study participant were incorporated into the interview guide. Overall, I followed a very similar approach when conducting interviews with the other two opposition campaign leaders. The next opposition campaign leader I interviewed spent two-and-a-half hours telling me his story in the initial interview. I transcribed the tape, and he reviewed it and recommended minor editorial changes. He also agreed to participate in a follow-up interview regarding his understanding of the state of the neighbourhood, which lasted approximately two hours. This tape was transcribed and reviewed by the opposition campaign leader. He recommended a few editorial changes, but did not want to participate in a third interview. In light of the time and effort that went into recruiting the third opposition campaign leader into the study, I perceived that it was a very difficult decision for this person to participate in an interview. After several weeks of consideration, she did eventually agree to talk informally with me over the telephone about my intentions regarding this research. She indicated that she had been severely traumatised by her experience with the referendum process and had essentially made a vow of silence on the issue for fear of being sued for libel again. I did not want to pressure her to talk about her experiences, but was eager to hear her story as she was the only woman to take on a opposition campaign leadership role in the Referendum. About a month later, she telephoned and agreed to meet for an interview, which lasted approximately two hours. I transcribed the taped interview, and she reviewed it and made minor editorial comments. She indicated that the transcript reflected her entire story and declined to participate in a follow-up interview. 65 As the research process progressed, it became obvious from looking at the data that I needed to further explore two ideas that were referred to frequently by opposition campaign leaders: 1) feeling safe or unsafe in the neighbourhood, and 2) the process of understanding the rules and regulations of the Referendum. Key informants are frequently used in health and other social science research to provide alternative perspectives on particular issues. The purpose of interviewing the key informants was to supplement my discussions with the opposition campaign leaders. Key informants provided another level of insight into the process of participating in the Referendum. Thus, I began to look for additional informants who could elaborate on these two concepts. Two additional informants were suggested by the three opposition campaign leaders, and by my professional colleague working in the neighbourhood, to elaborate on these concepts. These two key informants were described as being best able to provide the necessary data and were deliberately selected into the sample. One key informant was selected because his expert position allowed him to assess and make comment on the concept of feeling safe or unsafe in the neighbourhood. This person had spent over twenty years working as a police officer in the neighbourhood and, at the time of the interview, had overall responsibility for neighbourhood safety and policing issues within the area. I contacted this individual and he agreed to participate in an interview which lasted over two hours. I transcribed the interview tape, which was subsequently reviewed by the key informant. He telephoned me within two weeks of receiving the transcript and indicated that he did not require any changes to the transcript and that he did not want to participate in a follow-up interview. The other key informant was selected to provide expert comment concerning an understanding of the rules and regulations of the referendum. This key informant was 66 deliberately invited into the study to clarify the policy and provide expert comment on the conduct, rules, and regulations of the Referendum. This person had over ten years of experience in conducting referendums within the City of Vancouver on a wide range of topics, and was particularly familiar with the controversy surrounding this Referendum on alcohol control. This individual also agreed to participate in an interview which lasted about forty-five minutes. I transcribed the taped interview and he reviewed it. He requested that a few minor editorial changes be made, but declined to participate in a follow-up interview. When I asked each of these key informants who they perceived to be the leaders in the campaign, they named the same five people initially identified through newspaper accounts. The individuals who were identified in newspaper accounts and who agreed to be interviewed all lived in the neighbourhood of interest. Opposition campaign leaders included a pastor of a local church, a member of the neighbourhood school's Parent Teacher Association, and a relative newcomer to the neighbourhood. Two of the opposition campaign leaders were male and one was female; all were between the ages of 35 and 50. One male and the female opposition campaign leader were homeowners, while the other male lived in a rented apartment in the neighbourhood. One male opposition campaign leader and the female opposition campaign leader had young children living with them in the neighbourhood. These opposition leaders had prior personal experiences which were likely to have influenced their experiences during the Referendum. One male opposition campaign leader and the female opposition campaign leader had significant amounts of experience working in a social service capacity with people living the neighbourhood, while the third opposition campaign leader had very little experience in community-based activities prior to the Referendum. None of the opposition campaign leaders had been involved in the 1990 referendum held on the same 67 issue. All of the opposition campaign leaders were raised outside of the neighbourhood, but at the time of the interviews, expressed a strong sense of connection to the neighbourhood. Prior to the Referendum, the female opposition campaign leader had a negative experience as a volunteer with a community-based organization. Based on evidence discovered by this opposition campaign leader, criminal charges were brought against a staff member of that organization. One male opposition campaign leader reported personal experience with alcohol abuse, while the other two indicated they were social drinkers. To further describe the characteristics of the opposition campaign leaders would run the risk of compromising the confidentiality of responses received from each of the study participants. In accordance with the guidelines set forth by the UBC Human Subjects Review Committee that relate to this study, it is my ethical duty to ensure that the confidentiality of their responses be maintained. In light of the extensive publicity surrounding this case, I cannot ensure the anonymity of the opposition campaign leaders, nor do they expect that. I have, however, made efforts to maintain the confidentiality of their responses. The descriptions of opposition campaign leaders that are included in this dissertation have been developed so that they do not compromise the comfort levels of study participants. Furthermore, to respect the confidentiality of the responses that opposition campaign leaders provided during interviews, I removed all identifying information from the examples included in the findings chapters and I used a generic labelling system to indicate from which interview transcript each example was taken. Nature of the Data A total of seven in-depth interviews were completed with five different people, including the two key informants, (five initial interviews, plus two follow-up interviews). The nature of the 68 data was influenced by the manner in which the data were collected — using a semi-structured interview guide and open-ended questions. More than fourteen hours of interviews resulted in over 200 pages of transcribed data, which were analyzed, using the constant comparative method, over the course of seventeen months (May 1995 through September 1996). For the purpose of analysis, the transcripts were double spaced, with 1.5 inch margins for writing codes and memos. Transcripts were identified using a reference name (for example, xintone.doc). Hard copy and computer file copies of coded transcripts and draft frameworks were made at the end of each day of analysis (Strauss & Corbin, 1990). All unique identifiers were removed from hard copies and computer files. The aims of the interview guide were: 1) to help study participants talk about their experiences in their own words with as little influence as possible from the researcher; and 2) to ask study participants about their experiences in relation to the experiences of others, as reflected in the research literature (Grams, 1994; Patton, 1987). The interview guide allowed participants to develop a composite picture of the problem of interest by reflecting both the depth and breadth of their experiences. The guide clarified the questions to be asked of each person agreeing to participate in the study. The open-ended initial query was: "Tell me about your experiences during the debate and referendum regarding the Mount Pleasant Hotel's application for a new beer and wine store in Mount Pleasant." This allowed neighbourhood leaders to tell their story before being influenced by a series of more specific or probing questions. Beginning the interview process in this way reduces the likelihood that probing questions will bias study participants or take away from their stories (Glaser & Strauss, 1967; Grams, 1994). The probing questions that were included in the interview guide reflected factors identified in the review of literature (see Chapter 2) and the researcher's previous experience 69 working with communities (Denzin & Lincoln, 1994; Glaser & Strauss, 1967; Grams, 1994; Strauss & Corbin, 1990). For example, some authors have indicated that participatory decision-making mechanisms, like the referendum, enhance the legitimacy of decisions on public policy (Boyer, 1992; Cronin, 1989; Barber, 1984). Others point out that issues pertaining to power and the divisive nature of referendums discourage participation and undermine legitimacy (Butler & Ranney, 1994; McGuigan, 1985; Zimmerman, 1986). I explored citizens' experiences during the Referendum in order to better understand their perceptions of how the nature of the process had affected their ability to influence public policy. To more fully explore their experiences, I was interested specifically in their leadership roles, their perceptions about the media coverage during and following the Referendum, and their understandings of the rules that governed the Referendum. To understand the contextual background, I was most interested in exploring their previous experiences with the Hotel, with the referendum process, and with the negative impact of alcohol abuse. To complete this exploration, I was curious about their individual sense of community and with their perceptions about power during the Referendum. Appendix B includes the questions that guided the inquiry process for this study. The interviews were conducted at a time and place agreed upon by each study participant and myself. Prior to beginning each interview, the recording equipment was tested and the interview guide was reviewed. The preamble to the opening question of the interview included a brief overview of the purpose of the study as well as a careful review of the informed consent agreement. 70 Confidentiality of Responses This study focuses on personal experiences with the referendum process. Individuals who participated in interviews risked exposure of potentially embarrassing or otherwise injurious information. In transcribing the audio recordings and in reporting the results, all personal identifiers have been removed. Because the Referendum received a high degree of media coverage, the issue of maintaining confidentiality of responses was discussed thoroughly with each study participant prior to recording any data. Study participants were notified that they had the right to refuse to participate or to have their thoughts recorded in writing or by audio equipment, to refuse to respond to any question during the course of the interview, and to stop the interview at any time. Interpretation and writing about the findings was stated clearly to be the domain of the researcher. A signed consent form was obtained prior to commencing interviews. Refer to Appendix C regarding the introduction letter and Appendix D regarding the consent form. As is standard practice at the University of British Columbia, copies of transcripts stripped of unique identifiers will be retained for up to three years upon the successful defence of this dissertation. Data Analysis Procedures In general, this study relied simultaneously on induction and deduction to analyze the 37 data. Inductive approaches to the data served to generate abstract, conceptual labels for ideas. This type of approach to analysis has been criticized for being vulnerable to the researcher transferring his or her own biases through conscious or subconscious acts (Ginsberg, 1990). Although transcending personal biases is not simple, I sought to explicitly recognize the "reciprocal shaping" that results from intensive interaction with the data in the form of memos. In addition, I have carefully described the ontological, epistemological, and methodological assumptions that guided this study in my attempt to explicate biases (Strauss & Corbin, 1994). Revelation of biases does not guarantee they will not influence the analysis, rather they provide the reader with a picture of the lenses brought to the research. 71 Raw data from the transcripts of seven in-depth interviews were compared constantly with conceptual abstractions, known as codes. As codes emerged, deductive processes guided the theorizing about how the concepts and processes linked together. This method of generating concepts grounded in data is frequently referred to as the "constant comparative method" (Glaser & Strauss, 1967). The constant comparative method combines explicit coding of data with the simultaneous generation of categories and properties, hypotheses. The method also re-integrates the abstract concepts with raw data used to develop the emergent theoretical framework, and its associated hypotheses, were in the form of ideas talked about on tape and subsequently transcribed onto paper, rather than in the form of numbers. By constantly comparing the abstract ideas that emerged during data analysis with the raw data, the findings (composed of concepts and linkages between concepts) remained closely grounded with the experiences of study participants as expressed in their own words. As it was the intent of this study to formulate conceptual representations and to describe their relations, analysis of data included the act of theorizing. Concepts, and the hypothesized linkages between concepts, do not simply emerge from data, rather the process of theorizing is an active, intellectual exercise (Morse & Field, 1995). Theorizing is the process of constructing alternative explanations and holding these against the raw data until the best fit to explain the data is obtained (Glaser, 1992). The combined use of induction and deduction allows for comparisons between discoveries that are derived inductively and those ideas that the researcher brings to the study based on existing theories (Glaser & Strauss, 1967; Strauss & Corbin, 1994). 72 This is a systematic and incremental process that requires close and constant interaction with the data.38 The following sections explain in detail how data analysis procedures were applied to the data collected during this study. The examples contain a small sample of raw data to illustrate the method of coding and organizing, and the method of writing about the findings and their inherent theme. Diagrams are provided for some of the examples in order to demonstrate how the conceptual model was developed. 3 8 With respect to recognizing a "reciprocal shaping" between researcher and data, Glaser and Strauss (1967; Glaser, 1978) use the term "theoretical sensitivity" to describe the act of incorporating and reconciling previous knowledge, based on reading the literature or previous experience, with data presented currently for analysis. The primary purpose of theoretical sensitivity is to recognize and describe the perspective provided to both the collection and analysis of data by the researcher. Although sensitivity is increased by familiarity with a breadth of literature that covers both the kinds of variables and their associated general ideas, it is important for the researcher to attempt to remain open and aware of what is actually happening, without attempting to square each observation "with pre-existing hypotheses and biases" (Glaser, 1978, p. 3). In this study, I have attempted to review the relevant literature with a critical eye to matters related to the research question. I have chosen to include literature from a variety of fields, fields that reflect both the substantive nature of the research question and the interdisciplinary nature of the investigation. 73 Coding The principles associated with what Strauss & Corbin (1990) describe as "open coding" guided the first steps in the process of analyzing. I began by reading through the raw data, word by word, and line by line. This initial process of data analysis forced me to closely examine the raw data and to think about the more abstract ideas embedded within them. A process was followed whereby code names, preferably a single word and usually not more than three words, were assigned to each new idea represented in the raw data (Grams, 1994; Strauss & Corbin, 1990; Glaser & Strauss, 1967). At this point in the analysis, accurately depicting the idea is less important than giving it a name. As the analysis continues and ideas are compared, the name may change to more accurately reflect the idea. Figure 1 illustrates the process of open-coding using Figure 1: Example of Open Coding I was really a basket case fear...I was very concerned for my kids c h l l d r e n v u l n e r a b l e x n e j r stability was on the line c h l l d r e n s , n s t a b , l l t v B o t n m y [partner] and I were students l o w s t a t u s and had no lack of resources ,1 ,1 ,1 , i , Ti j , i • , lack of resources T income other than the income that Ive managed to save and invest ...1 . i i i. fear . T •, , fear • , -.i lack of resources . . just couldn t see where I was possibly going to come up with , if it went to the supreme courtlegal s y s t e m j w e figured that it was going to cost $75,000 l e g a l f e e s . Even if we won , we a probably be out $20,000 l e g a l f e e s . I just couldn't see where this money was _ • . r- lack of resources . •. r-r .• i - j children vulnerable i .1 , i _ going to come from and it was affecting my kids because they d go to schoolchl ldren v u l n e r a b l e a n ( j j t w a s a u around the school s c a P e s° a t i n s For them, it just wasn't fair g u i l t and I knew that g u i , t . It t h e r e f e r e n d u m might have initially been d o u b t a wonderful idea of a thing to do h o p e f o r d e m o c r a c ' ' , but personallyindividual, it's not the kind of thing that people should seriously consider w a r n i n g if they have to face lawsuits l a w s u i t s . (yintone.doc, p. 7 li 24-34) 74 ten lines of data from "yintone.doc," page 7, lines 24-34. In this example, the conceptual codes follow the idea that they represent and are highlighted in a bold superscript font. This style of coding was completed for the first five pages of data in the first transcript. At this level of coding, Strauss & Corbin (1990) recommend stopping after about five pages of transcribed data, as more than that amount can result in an overwhelming number of codes. After open coding the first five pages of data, a list of seventy-one code names was compiled; the names were then organized into an emerging conceptual framework. The following list of codes resulted from the open coding of this illustrative section: fear, children vulnerable, children's instability, low status, lack of resources, legal system, legal fees, doubt, scapegoating, guilt, the referendum, hope for democracy, individual, warning, and lawsuits. Conceptual definitions for each code were noted as they emerged from the raw data, and the list was then subjected to axial coding. Axial Coding Figure 2: Example of Axial Coding Fear Children Vulnerable Children Unstable Low Status Individual Vulnerability Lack of Resources Individual Scapegoating Guilt Warning 75 After coding the first five pages of data from the first interview, I began to code data by relying on the principles associated with what Strauss & Corbin (1990) describe as "axial coding." Axial coding is the process by which the products of open coding are organized into a theoretical framework, which includes "categories," the most abstract ideas that emerged throughout the process of analysis (Strauss & Corbin, 1990). Figure 2 illustrates how the condition labelled "individual vulnerability" began to emerge during this phase of coding. "Properties," or sub-categories, are less abstract ideas that make up the categories, and "types, circumstances, and conditions" represent the different facets that shape and define each property. After coding more raw data and revisiting the conceptual definitions for each of the codes listed above, I determined that several codes — fear, children vulnerable, children's instability, low status, lack of resources, scapegoating, guilt, and individual — could all fit under the code name "individual vulnerability." The remaining codes — legal system, legal fees, the referendum, and hope for democracy — were also organized into the theoretical framework during axial coding, although their places in the framework changed significantly as the analysis continued. Figure 3 illustrates how the framework began to be organized. Codes, and their accompanying conceptual definitions, were re-evaluated throughout the analysis and writing period. Additionally, the early phases of analysis were compared to new raw data to determine if the same codes emerged in other sections; this process helped establish the most appropriate code name for the idea represented by that name. The remaining pages of the transcripts were coded, and each idea was constantly compared with the data in the framework. As coding progressed throughout each transcript, I shifted from word by word, to sentence by sentence, to paragraph by paragraph coding. I constantly compared raw data with codes in the framework, arid looked for new ideas and/or better examples of ideas 76 represented in the framework. Coding continued to expand from the least abstract levels (e.g., types, circumstances and conditions) to more abstract levels (e.g. properties). As I delineated and validated relationships between concepts, coding progressed across and within the most abstract level of analysis ~ categories. Figure 3 illustrates how one section of the theoretical framework. Memo Writing Four different types of memos were employed during open and axial coding: 1) concept memos described the name of an abstract code and provided an example from the raw data to illustrate this concept; 2) theory memos explained and included examples from the raw data to demonstrate the linkages between codes; 3) method memos explained the procedure followed by the researcher to demonstrate the use of the constant comparative method; and 4) profile memos highlighted and discussed aspects of a specific study participant that were helpful for a better understanding of the raw data. Figures 4 , 5 and 6 illustrate a profile memo, a method memo, and a theoretical memo. Memos were developed early in the analysis process and form the beginning of the findings that explain the framework. The annotation function in the word processing software provided a quick and easy method to locate each concept in the raw data (for example, yintone.doc, p. 7 li 24-34). The annotations cued the researcher to refer to a memo(s) associated Figure 3: Example of Organizing Framework Categories Properties Types rCircutnstancc,( ouil i ltons Hope For Democracy The referendum Individual vulnerability The Legal System Lawsuit Legal Fees 77 with each piece of the framework. By inserting annotations directly into the framework, the explanations and examples contained in conceptual and theoretical memos were automatically tied to the codes in the framework. Figure 7 illustrates a concept memo. Figure 4: Example of Profile Memo May 25, 1995: "Just completed interview with Y. I think Y had a very unsavory experience during the Referendum and has a great deal of fear about what participating in this study could do to Y's person and family. Y is very concerned about legal reprisals from the Hotel even now. Figure 6: Example of Method Memo Open coded pages 1-5 of yintone.doc today. Then proceeded through page 9 using axial coding. Began to organize codes into a framework and wrote a concept memo about the idea of "individual vulnerability". The framework is stored in c:\...\...\....doc. Figure 6: Example of Theoretical Memo [JS2]: Opposition campaign leaders associated "individual vulnerability" with the concept of "isolation". "Isolation" and "individual vulnerability" are mutually reinforcing concepts with the traditional democratic context. Opposition campaign leaders felt like pariahs within their neighbourhood after word spread that they were being sued for libel by the Hotel. . . 78 Presentation of Findings Findings are presented in the form of theoretical writing about the conceptual framework. The purpose of theoretical writing can be described as providing a concise description of various dimensions of a problem, including the linkages among dimensions, to promote an understanding of both the general nature of the problem and the implications for action such an understanding entails. It is relevant to emphasize the evolutionary nature of writing about concepts and linkages among concepts. Because theory is not fact, it is subject to revision and modification through further research and through practice applications in relevant disciplines (Morse & Field, 1995). There are a variety of approaches to writing about concepts and the linkages hypothesized to exist among concepts (Strauss & Corbin, 1990; Glaser, 1992; Morse & Field, 1995). The process employed in this study was influenced by Glaser's (1978) approach to theoretical writing and Grams' (1994) description of the procedures involved in writing clearly about findings. The task Figure 7: Example of Concept Memo " Individual vulnerability" refers to the fear of taking on personal liability (e.g., financial, individual and familial health and safety, personal character and reputation) for actions taken during the Referendum. Opposition campaign leaders expressed distress regarding "individual vulnerability" throughout the Referendum process. "Individual vulnerability" is perceived as an important barrier against widespread citizen participation in the traditional democratic context. The following quote is an example of "individual vulnerability" from the perspective of a participant: ". . .personally, it's not the kind of thing that people should seriously consider if they have to face lawsuits." (yintone.doc, p. 7 li 33-34) 79 of writing about the findings began with the development of memos early in the data analysis process and expanded as the theoretical framework emerged. From a technical standpoint, the writing was a systematic "construction job" (Glaser, 1978). Theoretical writing began by viewing the phenomenon of interest in a general way. Next, the number of categories, properties, and concepts representing types, circumstances, or conditions were stated. The substantive sections of the writing followed from the categories. Beginning with the first category, the scope of the category and the number of properties associated with it were identified. The properties of the category were named and the linkages among each of the concepts representing types, circumstances, or conditions of that property were explained. Each linkage was illustrated by a quote that best exemplified the relationship across the concepts. The quote was followed by a discussion of the importance and relevance of the concepts to an understanding of the overall findings. Finally, features of the property were summarized and another quotation was often used to demonstrate the links with the next property of that category. This process was repeated for each category within the framework. The following example illustrates the process of explicating one category, one of the properties associated with that category, and one type linked with that property. This example of theoretical writing illustrates the linkages between the category entitled "decision-making contexts," the property named "traditional democratic context," and the concept identified as "individual vulnerability." 80 Writing about the linkages between category, property, and concepts should provide the reader with a clear and logical path to follow through the framework. Theoretical writing should help the reader understand what each of the codes in the framework mean, and how the different parts of the framework fit together. By including quotes to illustrate the concepts and linkages between concepts, the writing provides the reader with the necessary connection (i.e., grounding) to the raw data. Development of the framework and the written findings were complementary actions, as the process of writing about the framework presented yet another test of the ideas presented in the framework and how they fit together. Figure 8: Example of Writing About Findings The core category of the framework is entitled "decision-making contexts" Decision-making contexts refers to the overall context in which opposition campaign leaders perceived a need to participate in order to efficaciously influence the final decision about the new beer and wine store, which they believed would in turn affect their neighbourhood. Decision-making contexts has three properties, including: 1) traditional democratic context, 2) political context, and 3) civic context. The property entitled "traditional democratic context" refers to the conventional means by which democratic decisions are made in our society. Referendums are one of the vehicles in the traditional democratic context. 81 Developing Hypotheses As data analysis progressed, hypotheses emerged. Each hypothesis refers to a tentative explanation that accounts for a set of observations and can be tested by further investigation. These statements describe the hypothesized relationships among abstract concepts (Reynolds, 1971). The hypotheses explained in Chapter 4, 5 and 6 explain the linkages among concepts within and across categories contained in the framework. The hypotheses were based on the theoretical writing, which is linked to the framework via memos, and, ultimately, to the raw data through the use of quotations. The hypotheses are presented both within the text of the findings as they emerged, as well as in a list at the end of each property. The conceptual model is presented at the outset of the discussion of each property. The hypotheses put forward in this analysis need to be tested for their validity in further studies of citizens' experiences with the referendum process. Developing a Conceptual Model A conceptual model was developed to illustrate the relationships among the concepts included in the framework. The complete model (see Figure 22 in Chapter 6) illustrates the conceptual framework, including the linkages between the categories of the framework and the hypotheses that describe those linkages. The conceptual model consists of a set of concepts connected with arrows, which indicate the linkages and the direction of the relationship between concepts. The arrowheads in the following example indicate how the concepts of "individual Example of a Hypothesis Co-opting and coercing contribute to feelings of vulnerability and isolation (Hypothesis 8.4). 82 vulnerability" and "isolation" are affected by the process of recognizing a "lack of fit" between hopes for the referendum and the realities of the experience. The numbers in later diagram refer to the hypothesis that explains the linkages. The following example is for illustrative purposes only. Figure 9: Vulnerability and Isolation Co-opting *~ Indivudal Vulnerabilty Coercing Isolation Bargaining Writing About Themes In addition to writing about the hypothesized relationships among concepts, the findings are also presented thematically. Themes tend to be quite abstract, and, therefore, tend to be identified late in the data analysis process (Morse & Field, 1995). A theme represents a common thread that weaves throughout different parts of the framework and the theoretical writing (Grams, 1994). As I worked through the process of coding, organizing, and writing, it became evident that some concepts were repeated, often with slight variation, and seemed to fit equally well within more than one part of the framework (Morse & Field, 1995; Grams, 1996). I made memos that identified the theme and indicated the place in the framework where these repetitive 83 ideas first appeared. At this point in the analysis, I started to write memos about the general nature of the theme. Writing about a theme follows a similar pattern to theoretical writing in that I identified and described the thematic idea, illustrated it with different quotations from the raw data, and discussed the linkage between the theme and the framework. The following example of writing about a theme relates to the theme identified during the study. This example has been abbreviated for illustrative purposes: Example of Writing About a Theme The broad conventions of our society seem to influence the overall capacity of a neighbourhood to organize for healthful social change. The long-standing custom of complaining about government, rather than becoming actively involved in decision-making processes about public policy issues, ensures that the public remains inexperienced at dealing proactively with public policy issues . . . As with the theoretical writing, writing about themes remained grounded in raw data through the inclusion of relevant quotations. Writing about themes tends to reflect one or more implications for practice, policy, and further research (Grams, 1995). Criteria for Assessing the Approach The idea of what constitutes rigorous qualitative inquiry continues to be debated and discussed, both across (Miles & Huberman, 1994; Morse & Field, 1995) and within paradigms (Strauss & Corbin, 1990; Corbin & Strauss, 1990; Glaser, 1992; Engel & Kuzel, 1992; Denzin, 84 1994; Wolcott, 1994; Altheide & Johnson, 1994; Reicher, 1994) , as well as by a variety of professional disciplines (Hammersley, 1992; Atkinson & Hammersley, 1994; Chenitz & Swanson, 1986; Lincoln, 1992b). In general, there are three primary stances on the issue of criteria for judging qualitative research: a) the position that argues for unified science and contends that the same standards for judging quality of inquiry should apply regardless of the adoption of a specific paradigmatic stance; b) the position that asserts different types of inquiry represent different interests and types of knowledge, and therefore, qualitative inquiries require a different set of standards than conventional, quantitative research; and c) the stance that argues for the application of a heuristic set of standards in specific contexts and that no fixed or certain standards can be applied in formula-like fashion across research contexts (Engel & Kuzel, 1992). Moreover, arguments about the terminology applied to describe issues of rigour within qualitative research continue (Lincoln & Guba, 1985; Sandelowski, 1993; Denzin & Lincoln, 1994; Lather, 1995; Sandelowski, 1996). Awareness and understanding of the nature and bases of this debate are essential as a backdrop for assessing the rigour with which this study was conducted. In this study, I used nine strategies described by Wolcott (1994) to address issues related to rigour. Wolcott (1994) describes the following actions to help researchers address issues related to validity: 1) be inquisitive, without being a "talker"; 2) record data accurately; 3) begin writing about the study prior to entering the field; 4) provide the reader with opportunities to see raw data; 5) consider "triangulating" data sources; 6) report fully on the data, even the data that do not fit neatly into the emerging conceptual framework; 7) be candid about personal reactions to the data; 8) seek feedback from other writers on a continual, consultative basis; 9) consult with study participants regarding interpretations. 85 To allow study participants to tell their own story, I asked broad, open-ended questions, spent several hours with each of them while they talked about their experiences. I provided each of them with opportunities for both verbal and written feedback on their stories through the reviewing and editing process. When I did not understand, or required clarification on specific points, I asked candid probing questions. Wolcott (1994) describes this process in the following manner: "Like most of us, I think I understand when I am getting a straight story, when I am getting a story straight, and when I am on a detour of my own or another's making" (p. 348). When I sensed an interview may have been heading for a "detour" of my own making, I checked myself and recorded these experiences later in my notes. When I sensed a "detour" arranged by a study participant, I did not confront the participant. Rather, I asked the study participant to retell the part of the story that related to this experience, thus, giving them the opportunity to revisit their confusing or misleading "testimony." The potential also exists for recall bias to have affected the integrity of the data. Due to various constraints, the interviews with study participants occurred nearly two years after the Referendum. Study participants' attention to detail, including referral to their own private files on the Referendum, indicates the care taken when recalling experiences. The retrospective nature of this study, however, needs to be considered. To ensure accurate recording, I tape recorded all interviews and transcribed the tapes for review by the study participants and myself. The process of transcription was guided by Poland's (1995) suggestions regarding strategies to maximize transcription quality. I also made notes about my experiences during the fieldwork as well as during the analysis and writing phases of this study. My field notes for this study are integrated amongst the various iterations of the research plan (e.g. the development of the interview guide can be mapped from beginning to 86 end), the analysis process, and the writing. The process is also chronicled in my daily research activity journal, which contains much of the process-oriented text included in this dissertation. I began writing about what I thought I might find upon going to the field well in advance of conducting the interviews. In close consultation with my five-member research supervisory committee, I developed several preliminary proposals of the research plan and its anticipated outcomes. Writing the research proposal also provided me with a record of what I thought was already known about citizen participation in decision making, as well as a chance to identify what I noted as gaps in the literature. These accounts were descriptive in nature; however, by completing them before entering the field, I became familiar and comfortable with both the content and context. For example, prior to commencing interviews, I was familiar with the issues related to citizen participation in decision making and was also familiar with the neighbourhood where the Referendum took place. In the findings chapters, I include examples from the raw data to illustrate the origin of a new concept or linkage. Concepts tend to emerge from a collection of examples in the raw data; however, in the interest of readability, I only included the best illustration of each concept in the findings. Efforts to triangulate data sources were limited to interviewing two key informants due to contingencies described earlier in this chapter. While analyzing the data and writing about this study's findings, there were several occasions when I found myself reacting with disappointment when a "hunch" about linkages between concepts was not verified or was contested by data in a subsequent interview. For example, as I analyzed my first interview with an opposition campaign leader, I wrote a memo about a notion that I had regarding the relationship between the concept of "individual vulnerability" and the broad notion of "staying involved." I envisioned the relationship between these two concepts as being linear and inverse — when "individual 87 vulnerability" was perceived to be high, the chances of staying involved in civic life decreased accordingly. As I analyzed more data from other respondents, it became clear that this simplistic assumption was not only incomplete, it was inaccurate. In the end, the relationship between these two concepts is hypothesized to be much more complex than my initial interpretation allowed. With regard to bias, there is little argument that my own biases affected my approach to this study. For example, I asked my colleague who worked in Mount Pleasant about the rationale behind his agency's reluctance to become involved in the Referendum. He indicated that there had been an informal decision made by their Board of Directors to "request" that their agency and its staff avoid public involvement because it was thought to be very controversial and could potentially affect their funding from both the provincial and city governments. This increased my interest in the Referendum and the experiences of people who dared to take leadership roles during the process. It also heightened my awareness of the power relationships within this particular case. My biases around power, and its distribution within our society, influenced my approach to these questions. I believe that power imbalances within our existing system of democracy negatively influence the potential egalitarian nature of the referendum process. This pessimism is somewhat tempered by a degree of optimism about the potential for other decision-making models to be incorporated into our representative system of governance in order to facilitate active citizen participation in public policy issues. I subscribed to a unitary view of the public interest. In my view, the public interest represents something more than finding a balance between competing private interests. From my perspective, the public interest is defined in terms of a set of common goals that are more valuable than the unshared ends of individuals and group. My perceptions have been most influenced by the works of Saul Alinsky. Alinsky (1971) refers to "top values" as those beliefs 88 that cannot be compromised. Top values as those values that an organization (e.g., country, neighbourhood or corporation) must have in order to function fully and fairly. Top values are akin to the those values enshrined in our constitution and explicitly delineated in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. These views may conflict with those of other researchers, but these beliefs have had a fundamental influence on my approach to this study and my life in general. My biases also relate to my perceptions regarding the way alcohol control affects the context of the study. The fact that I considered alcohol control a contextual factor, and focused on citizen participation in decision making as the major substantive issue under study, likely resulted in a line of questioning about the Referendum that was much more process oriented than topic oriented. I have, however, been explicit in stating that the problem of interest in this study was related to what can happen when citizens become involved as leaders on one side of a campaign during a referendum. All of these biases, and likely many more that remain unknown to me, affected the way that this study was framed and, therefore, affected the research process and ultimately its outcomes. In addition, with regard to bias, in the chapters containing the findings and implications, I tried to delineate where the writing reflects the data presented by study participants, my personal biases, or a combination of the two. I worked closely with all of the members of my supervisory committee during the analysis and writing phase of this study. During the analysis and writing, I worked closely with Drs. Grams and Herbert. As the process continued, I shared drafts of the theoretical writing with all five members of my supervisory committee, who reviewed and challenged my work through various iterations of the writing. The process of discussing the analytical logic underlying the interpretations in emerging versions of the dissertation helped my 89 writing to take form. This process was highlighted by monthly, and sometimes weekly, meetings with each committee member to discuss and debate the content of the latest draft, which helped me to develop a coherent presentation of my data interpretation. In addition to working closely with my supervisory committee members, I had the opportunity to discuss my work on an ongoing basis with another graduate student working in a similar substantive area. We discussed our findings, questioned one another about concepts and linkages, discussed the relation of our findings to the literature, and hypothesized about the implications of the findings for practice, policy, and further research. Finally, I have had the benefit of the comments of two external examiners who reviewed this dissertation in a previous form. Thus, not only has this aspect of the exercise of attending to validity helped clarify the underlying logic of the study, it has also contributed to my understanding of the implications of this work. In light of the aforementioned steps to address the rigour with which I approached this work, it becomes obvious that the objective reliability measures are not simply applied after the fact. Just as in quantitative research, the researcher must attend to rigour from the outset of the study; the difference lies in the nature and form of the accountability. Whereas the quantitative researcher can describe numerically the psychometric properties of the instruments used to measure concepts, as well as the scores associated with tests of external validity, the qualitative researcher relies on other strategies to attend to rigour. Thus, a different kind of discussion ensues to describe the degree to which qualitative researchers interpret criteria of rigour to have been met. It is not a task that fits neatly into one section of a dissertation, although I have attempted to describe those actions that relate to Wolcott's criteria. Ultimately, issues related to rigour rest on the epistemological assumptions of this study. To review, the epistemology of this study assumes that all "facts" are theory laden. Both the 90 study participants' and my perceptions of reality are influenced by, and vary according to, the preconceived theories, concepts, and ideas developed over the course of our accumulated experiences. Clearly, it is impossible for me to recognize the motivation for every statement made by study participants, just as it is impossible for me to lay out every bias or assumption that influenced my interpretation of the data. To state simply that my values and those of the study participants shape the inquiry outcomes would be obvious and insufficient. The best attempt to articulate the influence of values is attained through the acts of seeking in-depth explanations and thick descriptions about study participants' experiences, coupled with a genuine attempt to clarify in writing, the values that I brought to this research. A monist perspective regarding "the inquirer inquired-into relationship" was assumed throughout this study. The data were created as a result of the interaction between myself and the study participants. The interview questions were open-ended and my style of inquiry became less formal as the interview progressed. Through the use of open-ended questions regarding lived experience, and member checking for verification, I was able to encourage study participants to provide in-depth responses, while maintaining respect for the study-participant agreement. This resulted in semi-structured dialogues, rather than strict and formal interviews. I always asked the first question to begin the discussion; however, study participants frequently asked me questions. I often discussed the participants' experiences with them while they were relating their stories. Frequently, after a request for clarification, more details about a particular incident would emerge that the participant had either forgotten or did not perceive to be of interest to me. Study participants expressed an awareness of "being researched" during the process, and this undoubtedly has bearing on the data collected. 91 Although I initiated the interview questions and led the analysis, study participants also asked me questions to clarify the purpose of the research. Some of the participants seem to be conducting their own research and asked questions, such as: What do you mean when you say you want to know about my experiences? How does that question relate to my situation? If this research demonstrates that referendums are not useful, how will that affect the issues I care about? The relationship that I had with the participants affected what they were willing to reveal, whether or not they participated or felt the need to participate in a follow-up interview, how carefully they reviewed the written transcripts, how interested they remained in the reported findings, and the level of contact they maintained with me during the course of the analysis. Although my relationship with the study participants could be characterized as monist, we remained far from equal partners in the research process. On the one hand, I reserved final say on the analysis of the data; on the other hand, the study participants held the key to the data bank. Achieving a balance between these positions was based on two assumptions: first, that the study participants felt sufficiently empowered to determine the amount and type of data to provide to me; and second, that my actions during the research process did not negate their rights to refuse to participate, to respond to questions, or to terminate the interview at any time. I also want to examine the goal of this study in light of the criteria of rigour. The purpose that guided this study can be characterized as a "process" question; yet understanding what this process involved and how participating in this process felt was based on detailed descriptions of experiences and the meaning applied to those experiences. Thus, this inquiry maintained dual goals throughout — the ideographic explanation of individual stories to convey the meaning of citizen participation in decision making, and the nomothetic explanation of the psychosocial processes underlying what can happen when citizens participate in a referendum. The previous 92 discussion about Wolcott's (1994) suggestions to address rigour is more closely associated with ideographic explanations than nomothetic explanations. To describe the relationship of this study's findings with the existing literature, a separate section of Implications chapter was written. Thus, the combination of ideographic explanations about this particular Referendum, as provided by study participants, with a more abstract understanding of the underlying psychosocial processes involved in citizen participation, are employed to construct hypotheses that could be tested in other situations using qualitative, quantitative, or mixed-method strategies. Study participants agreed that the written transcripts included their full stories, that I had accurately represented what they had told me, that the hypothesized linkages made sense to them, and that they understood the supporting logic for my interpretations. I strive to write with technical accuracy. To this end, Wolcott (1994) suggests a ". . . sentence-by-sentence examination to check that the verbs [and other features of grammar] are appropriate, the generalizations have real referents in what I have seen or heard, and the points of conjecture are marked with appropriate tentativeness" (Wolcott, 1994, p. 355). In preparing this paper, I had the benefit of critical reviews from a number of people, including the five members of my supervisory committee and several other academic readers, in order to ascertain the technical accuracy of my writing. I prepared and delivered several presentations about various aspects of this research, an exercise that I found lent clarity to my writing in every instance. I also employed two editors to review the final manuscript. Clearly, no one single research question or strategy can ensure complete understanding of a complex problem (Shadish, 1993; Cook, 1985; Caracelli & Greene, 1993). The findings of this study are theoretical and represent an initial foray into the development of knowledge based on 93 the experiences of citizens during referendums. The findings should be applied in other settings using other research methods, or raised as questions to help guide practice (Grams, 1996) to determine the degree to which they hold generality. In addition, the small, purposefully selected sample provides no way of knowing whether the people included in this study are representative of all opposition campaign leaders, or even other "ordinary citizens", participating in referendums. The degree to which this theory holds generality remains to be assessed and expanded through theoretical supplementation (Gerson, 1991), and wider data collection. That stated, the concepts and themes that emerged appear to be abstract enough and include sufficient variation that they may be assessed for generality within a variety of contexts. Opposition campaign leaders from different socio-economic, culture, and lifestyle backgrounds may experience different or similar realities during referendums. Further to this, the generality of the concepts could be tested to determine whether the topic of this Referendum — alcohol control in response to a commercial initiative — is representative of other controversial public policy issues. Maintaining confidentiality of study participants was very important to me and to the study participants. In telling their stories in a candid manner, study participants had to overcome the perceived (and perhaps real risk) of being sued for libel again. Writing about their experiences in a way that respected the confidentiality agreement, however, was a challenge. The writing may appear at times to be somewhat convoluted in order to avoid as much as possible the use of personal pronouns and other identifying information. In addition, while writing this dissertation I have been conscious of my own fear of being sued for libel. In conclusion, the uniquely suitable methodological approach taken allowed me to fulfil the purpose of this study. By generating a composite picture of the opposition campaign leaders' 94 experiences, using their words to "ground" this framework in their experiences, and through the systematic analysis of these stories, I am able to develop hypotheses about what citizens experience when they participate as campaign leaders in a controversial, health-related referendum. 95 PART B: THE FINDINGS Outline of the Theoretical Framework Part B of the dissertation presents the findings related to the core category and a theme that weaves throughout the findings. Part B has three purposes: to present the concepts and linkages that emerged during data analysis, to illustrate each concept and linkage with raw data, and to tell the story of what happened during the Referendum. Participating in a referendum is the core category during the analysis. This experience has a number of major stages: 1) becoming involved; 2) being involved; and 3) remaining involved. Table 1 illustrates the concepts associated with the theoretical framework that emerged during the analysis. Each major stage is described separately in Chapters 4 through 6. Each chapter begins with an outline of the phases included in the respective stage. The meanings of concepts associated with each stage are discussed and grounded using examples from the data. Significant milestones experienced by opposition campaign leaders have been summarized into a series of hypotheses, a list of which may be found in Tables 1 to 23 in Appendix E. Diagrams are used throughout these chapters to illustrate the relationships among concepts within each stage (Figures 11 to 27). Transitions from one stage to another are described in the written explanation and are illustrated using arrows. Chapter 7 explains the theme that emerges from examining the experiences of opposition campaign leaders and key informants. 96 Core Category Participating in a referendum campaign is the core category regarding opposition campaign leaders' experiences during a controversial, health-related referendum. This refers to the perceptions, feelings, values, knowledge, or behaviours associated with being an opposition campaign leader. Table 1 presents the theoretical framework described in Chapters 4 through 6. The emergence of this framework is summarized in Appendix F. Figure 10: Theoretical Framework Properties Types, Circumstances. Conditions Participating in a referendum Becoming involved Activating Anticipating Structuring Being involved Bargaining Relinquishing Overcoming Concretizing Elevating Remaining involved Reconstituting Recovering Context of Participation in a Referendum Campaign Participating in a referendum campaign is affected by contextual features such as the traditions that exist within Canada's parliamentary democracy, the current sociopolitical milieu, 97 and the state of civic culture (Hypothesis 1:1). As Figure 11 illustrates, experiencing a referendum takes place in the domain where these three contexts intersect. Factors associated with traditions of democracy include the regulations and legislation that govern how referendums are conducted. These factors may influence how the decision-making process is structured and how the results of a referendum are interpreted. The factors associated with this context tend to be reflected in highly structured and evident guidelines for behaviour during a referendum, as the following quote illustrates: "[at the public meeting] everybody had had their say and . . . this was the formal thing the [City Hall] had to do, the city had to do this public hearing" (xintone.doc, p. 5, li 28-30). Traditions also tend to reflect the Figure 1 1 : Context for Participation Traditions of Sociopolitical Democracy Milieu Participating in a 'r • Referendum Campaign Civic Culture constitutional parameters of the referendum process, with caveats added to reflect local exceptions or additions to these traditions. A list of all the hypotheses related to participation in a referendum campaign may be found in Table 1 in Appendix E. These began as propositions that lend themselves to further operationalization as hypotheses. As the study progressed, the propositions began to emerge more in the form of hypotheses, some of which may be stated as more formal hypotheses while others may be stated as prototypes of hypotheses that could be operationalized depending on the setting and design in which they may be applied. 98 The sociopolitical milieu that forms the backdrop to our society's traditional, democratic institutions may affect the frequency and form of opportunities and barriers facing citizens who want to participate in decision making about public policy issues. Sociopolitical factors may influence the setting within which a referendum occurs. The "rules" that govern this context tend to take a more subtle form than those that emerge from the traditions of democracy. For example, opposition campaign leaders describe a sense that the city officials and the Hotel were collaborating behind-the-scenes, as the following quote illustrates: "a couple of people on Council [seem] to have been involved. . . in trying to get their own Beer & Wine Store. . . and so they were sort of pals [with the Hotel]". Due to their nebulous nature, the influence of sociopolitical factors on referendum experiences tends to emerge as events unfold. Civic culture is characterized by citizens' reliance on personal connections among friends, family members, professional associates, religious affiliates, and neighbours. Civic culture may affect referendum experiences by influencing the form that collective action takes. It represents the resource pool for citizens who are motivated to become involved in a referendum, especially those who become involved as campaign leaders. Traditions of democracy, the sociopolitical milieu, and the civic culture are dynamic and interactive systems with shifts in one context affecting factors in another context (Hypothesis 1.2). Participating in a referendum takes place where these contexts overlap, and thus is influenced by the dynamics associated with each context. Participating in a referendum campaign has three major stages: 1) becoming involved; 2) being involved; and 3) remaining involved (Hypothesis 1.3). 99 Written explanation about the process and the conceptual model used to illustrate the process lend the appearance of a more linear and distinctly phased process than is the case in reality. Although not all citizens move through the process at the same rate and some citizens may disengage from the process at any point, the order in which these phases occur appears to be sequential (Hypothesis 1.4). 100 CHAPTER 4: BECOMING INVOLVED The purpose of this chapter is to describe the concepts associated with becoming involved in a referendum campaign. Figure 12 illustrates the hypothesized relationships among the concepts associated with becoming involved. Becoming involved refers to the process of citizens becoming active in experiencing a referendum. This is the first major stage of citizens experiencing a referendum. Becoming involved as a campaign leader results in a different set of 38 experiences than simply voting in a referendum (Hypothesis 2.1). Higher levels of investment result in richer experiences for citizens who decide to become involved in referendums as Figure 12: Becoming Involved Democratic Socio-political k / Participating in a ^ \ / Referendum Campaign \ i Civic i / Activating Structuring Anticipating J A list of all the hypotheses related to becoming involved in a referendum campaign may be found in Tables 2 to 5 in Appendix E. 101 leaders, rather than limiting their participation to voting (Hypothesis 2.2). This degree of involvement requires citizens to commit (or at least prepare to commit) personal assets to their cause (Hypothesis 2.3), such as time, emotional energy, philosophical sentiments, physical labour, and financial resources. Becoming involved in the Referendum required opposition campaign leaders to commit a variety of personal assets to their public stance against the Hotel's proposal. These assets were dedicated to working through the first three phases of becoming involved: 1) activating; 2) anticipating; and 3) structuring (Hypothesis 2.4). Activating Figure 13: Activating Making Personal, Professional, Ideological Connections 3.1 r ^ Sharing Resources 3.2 Developing Allies v ) V 3.3 3.4 Finding Common Goal by Reconciling Diverse Motivations Among Individuals, Organizations, Communities 3.5 Consolidation of Power 3.6 Developing a Ground-swell 3.7 Activating f Voice v. 3.9 -r Expectations J 102 This section describes the concepts associated with activating citizen participation. Figure 13 illustrates the hypothesized relationships among the concepts associated with activating. Activating refers to the process of initiating citizen participation in a referendum campaign, and is the first phase in becoming involved. Activating emerges when citizens organize a lobby to communicate their concerns to elected officials. It relies on involving a range of personal, professional, and ideological connections among citizens for the purpose of influencing decision making about public policy (Hypothesis 3.1). Activating is facilitated by learning about and sharing potential resources across disparate groups of citizens and includes a process of developing allies who share a common goal (Hypothesis 3.2). Sharing a common goal, however, does not necessitate all citizens sharing similar motivations for becoming involved. Activating refers to the development of a citizen-based movement that involves a diverse range of constituents, which connotes diverse motivations (Hypothesis 3.3). It does not imply that all citizens agree on the issue under debate; however, it does mean that reasoned public debate is possible if citizens have the opportunity to debate public policy issues in a reasoned manner. Activating takes place at the individual, organizational, and community levels (Hypothesis 3.4). Activating occurs when individuals form new groups or join existing community-based groups in order to mobilize their resource base, which in turn leads to a consolidation of power to influence the public debate (Hypothesis 3.5). Activating is an important, initial phase in becoming involved, as the following quotation illustrates: What's really important about [the opposition campaign], is it's about community groups working together... (xintone.doc. p. 9, li 48-56). Consolidation of power contributes to the development of a ground-swell of citizen participation (Hypothesis 3.6). Activating demands that citizens be willing to develop a ground-103 swell of support to affect decision making about policy (Hypothesis 3.7). Broad-based citizen support is associated with activating a "voice" in the community (Hypothesis 3.8). By mobilizing a relatively disparate collection of citizens in a vocal and organized manner, a ground-swell of citizen opposition against the new beer and wine store had been initiated, one that elected officials could not ignore. Opposition leaders believed they had accessed a pool of human resources that they hoped would compensate for their lack of financial resources. Involving a broad range of citizens who may share personal, professional, geographical, and ideological connections can result in the development of a "voice" for communities. Activating leads to a set of expectations around the referendum process (Hypothesis 3.9). The second phase of becoming involved relates to these expectations and is called anticipating. Anticipating This section describes the concepts associated with anticipating. Figure 14 illustrates the hypothesized relationships among the concepts associated with anticipating. Anticipating refers to citizens' expectations about the capacity of the referendum process to provide opportunities Figure 14: Anticipating Activating 3.8 Voice ) 3.9 • • Fairness Logic Expectations 4.1 4.2 Anticipating Decisions to Participate 104 for citizen participation in social action that will promote or protect the public good. Anticipating is predicated on the perception that the referendum device is a fair and logical way to make decisions within a democracy (Hypothesis 4.1). Opposition campaign leaders anticipated that the Referendum represented an opportunity for citizens of the neighbourhood to participate in decision making, a venue through which the concerns of all citizens could be heard. Their anticipating was built around their assumptions and their visions of likely scenarios. Anticipating opportunities to debate the merits of proposed policies affects citizens' decisions to participate as campaign leaders (Hypothesis 4.2). Opposition campaign leaders committed to leadership roles in the campaign against the Hotel's application partly because they anticipated that the referendum process would be fair and they expected a good match between the referendum process and their need to express their concerns to elected officials. The Referendum was seen to be a "permission-seeking" mechanism through which the Hotel was required to ask for citizens' approval before building the proposed store: That's why there's a referendum procedure [the Hotel] might want to do this, but the community has a vote on this. . .(zintone.doc, p. 5, li 9-10). Believing that they would win the Referendum by appealing to the public's common sense about the impact of increased alcohol availability in Mount Pleasant, opposition campaign leaders began to structure their roles. 105 Structuring This section describes the concepts associated with structuring. Figure 15 illustrates the hypothesized relationships among the concepts associated with structuring. Structuring is the third phase of becoming involved and refers to the process of determining roles that citizens plan to fulfill while participating in the referendum process. It is influenced by citizens' abilities to capitalize on opportunities to participate via the referendum process by matching their roles with opportunities to participate (Hypothesis 5.1). Structuring encourages citizens to modify and restructure their roles based on feedback from other stakeholders, who include other citizens, elected officials, bureaucrats, and members of the business community (Hypothesis 5.2). For example, feedback about the regulations governing the referendum process helped oppositions campaign leaders develop a clearer understanding of the way the traditions of democracy dictate the function of a referendum. Structuring is also influenced by the motivations citizens have for becoming involved in a referendum (Hypothesis 5.3). Opposition campaign leaders described three quite distinct sets of Figure 15: Structuring Matching Roles & Opportunities 5.1 Motivations 5.3 Structuring Lack of Familiarity with Rhetoric Contextual Factors Feedback 5.2 5.4N Modify & Re-structure Roles Operationalizing Rhetoric 5.7 Being Involved 106 motivations. One leader's rationale for becoming involved was based on beliefs about the health costs associated with alcohol problems in Mount Pleasant. Using evidence collected by the provincial government, this campaign leader highlighted the perceived hypocrisy of licensing a new alcohol outlet in a known high risk area: I said at the Liquor Licensing Commission. . ."Here's a report from the Ministry of Health. . .saying this is the health dollar impact of alcohol abuse.". . .basically [this report] said. . .alcohol abuse is causing untold health problems (xintone.doc, p. 16, li 32-34). For another opposition campaign leader, beliefs about the immorality of increasing alcohol availability in Mount Pleasant were important motivations for becoming involved. This campaign leader believed that the Referendum provided an opportunity for citizens to demand that governments act on a moral obligation for public policy to serve and protect citizens: When the. . .Hotel proposed this. . .1 thought there is no way that it can go ahead. And yet. . . City Council, along with our provincial government, doesn't have any feeling whatsoever that they have the right to legislate, what they would call morality, what I would call common sense (zintone.doc, p. 4, li 45^ 19). Structuring a perceived role around concern for the safety of children attending school near the Hotel affected how the third opposition campaign leader participated in the campaign. The inclusion of children as the primary constituents who would either benefit or be harmed by a policy decision tended to garner large amounts of media attention and public sentiment: The bottom line was that this was too close to the school. . .It didn't take a rocket scientist that there are people who are literally passed out in the school ground. 107 My children don't attend that school, but it doesn't matter. . .1 was coming from. . . more as an advocate for children than someone who [was on] some kind of moral crusade. . . .the religious, Judeo-Christian view of the sins of alcoholism were not part of where I was coming from. I was more concerned about what the direct impact was on kids and the fact that I had personal experience just living in the neighbourhood, seeing what happens when people spend all their money on booze (yintone.doc, p. 3, li 32-38). Structuring allows citizens to operationalize the rhetoric about participatory approaches to governance (Hypothesis 5.4): I'd say that in the 1990s about six major task force reports came down— everything from child protection to dealing with green space to dealing with environmental atmospheric pollution—they all strongly recommended more direct and ongoing public participation in dealing with these issues (xintone.doc, p. 24, li 8-11). The process of operationalizing the rhetoric about participation is influenced by citizens' lack of familiarity with the realities of the referendum process (Hypothesis 5.5). Although somewhat familiar with the idea of citizen participation, none of the opposition campaign leaders had any previous experience with referendums upon which to structure their roles, as the following quotation illustrates: no experience. . . none of us have any experience, until we'd done it once. All of us were completely green at it. None of us knew the referendum rules (zintone.doc, p. 5, li 8-12). 108 By operating from a position of inexperience, the initial phases of activating, anticipating, and structuring were characterized by opposition campaign leaders feeling excited about the potential power they could mobilize by organizing a broad constituency of citizens. They had anticipated a good fit between the theoretical potential for citizen participation in decision-making and the reality of participating in a referendum. The transition from becoming involved to being involved demands a recognition of naivete associated with citizens' lack of familiarity with the rhetoric of participation and a confrontation of the realities of being involved in a referendum campaign (Hypothesis 5.6). The transition requires restructuring of perceived roles (Hypothesis 5.7). The influence on structuring of contextual factors such as the traditions of democracy tends to be delineated more clearly, while the influence of contextual factors, such as sociopolitical milieu, tends to affect structuring in a more subtle manner (Hypothesis 5.8). For example, there is usually a set of written guidelines available regarding the conduct of referendums. The rules associated with the sociopolitical milieu are far more nebulous. Understanding these nuances influenced the ability of opposition campaign leaders to progress from becoming involved to being involved. 109 CHAPTER 5: BEING INVOLVED The purpose of this chapter is to describe the concepts associated with being involved in a referendum campaign. Figure 16 illustrates the hypothesized relationships among the concepts associated with being involved. Being involved is the second major stage of participating in a referendum and refers to the process of actively participating in a referendum campaign. It begins when citizens take actions that are visible to the public and are intended to influence the outcome 39 of the referendum vote (Hypothesis 6.1). Like becoming involved, being involved is influenced by democratic tradition, sociopolitical milieu, and civic culture (Hypothesis 6.2). Being involved requires citizens to develop tactics to respond to the context and referendum events as they Figure^ . 16: Being Involved Democratic Civic A list of all the hypotheses related to being involved in a referendum campaign may be found in Tables 6 to 17 in Appendix E. 110 evolve (Hypothesis 6.3). Recognizing and acting on feedback from other citizens, elected officials, and bureaucrats is essential for being involved in a competent manner. Being involved has five primary phases: bargaining, relinquishing, overcoming, concretizing, and elevating(Hypothesis 6.4). Bargaining This section describes the concepts associated with bargaining. Figure 17 illustrates the hypothesized relationships among the concepts associated with bargaining. Bargaining is the first phase of being involved and refers to the use of influence by private interests to affect the outcome of a decision on a public issue. It infers that private interests possess power (e.g. money, prestige, political influence) with which to lever their position. Bargaining refers to a process that subverts the public good in favour of private gain, having both short-term and long-term influences on public policy issues (Hypothesis 7.1). During the Referendum campaign, opposition leaders became increasingly cynical about the potential impact of bargaining on policy when they learned that the results of the Referendum Figure 17 >: Bargaining 7.5, Co-opting «-7.4 Bargaining 7.1 Short-term, Long-term Influences Coercing Increase Resources of More Powerful Decrease Resources of Less Powerful Cynicism 7.3 7 9 Subverting Democratic Process 7.11 Feeling Vulnerable «-7.12, 7.13 Feeling Isolated Barriers to Widespread Participation 7.14 Relinquishing Re-structuring 111 vote were not legally binding. Citizens understood the potential short-term effect of bargaining when they learned that, in 1990, the City Council had decided to disregard the results of the first referendum. During the 1990 referendum, a small majority of voters supported an application to build a new beer and wine store, but because of low voter turn-out, City Council decided not to accept the results and the store was not built. Although this decision pleased opposition campaign leaders, they remained uncertain as to how members of City Council might react to poor voter turnout or close results in 1993. Bargaining about obligations between private interests (e.g. the Hotel) and elected officials (e.g. city councilors) also emerged when opposition campaign leaders described how sociopolitical factors influenced their experiences during the campaign. Over the long term, bargaining is believed to subvert the democratic process (Hypothesis 7.2). Many comments about the long-term effects of bargaining resound with bitterness. Bargaining appears to infect citizens with cynicism about the potential to influence social change via the referendum on what they perceive as either/or alternatives (Hypothesis 7.3), as the following quotation illustrates: I saw [the decision-making process] as essentially divided at that point. I saw political interest arising, I saw a whole level of. . .corruption's too harsh a term, but I can't think of anything better. . .backroom politics (yintone.doc, p.8, li 16-18). Bargaining Through Co-opting and Coercing Bargaining power is achieved through co-opting and coercing (Hypothesis 7.4). Co-opting refers to efforts intended to neutralize or win over another group or person through assimilation into an established, dominant group. It allows the more powerful group or person to 112 assume for their own use the resources of another. Co-opting of small, neighbourhood newspapers by the Hotel seemed to result in biased reporting of the events surrounding the Referendum. This was thought to occur when the Hotel "reminded" the newspaper editors about valuable advertising revenue provided by the Hotel. Although opposition campaign leaders did not enter into the Referendum process with a high opinion of the media, they expressed shock regarding the effect co-opting had on the way the local newspapers presented the story: I knew that the press made mistakes. . .but in this case they deliberately .. .misrepresented this case, and did it because of advertising. And even in the end the people connected with the. . .Hotel. . .said that. . .it. . .was just advertising. So it was simply money, it was simply money that was doing this (xintone.doc, p. 18, li 39-^ 4). Co-opting can also be achieved through the use of personal connections to influence elected officials' decision making about public issues in favour of private gain. In observing the friendship that existed between the owner of the Hotel and the mayor during a public meeting prior to the Referendum vote, opposition campaign leaders began to doubt the sincerity of their elected officials' pledge to protect the public good: "The owner of the. . .Hotel went up and embraced [the mayor]! How ya' doin'! Like a long lost pal" (xintone.doc, p.3, li 44^ -5). Opposition campaign leaders also thought the Hotel had co-opted a citizen to represent as her own the interests of the Hotel during a public hearing about the proposed store: One woman had spoken in favour of the proposal, but we learned later that she was sort of a mock citizen because she was friends of the people at the Hotel. She was friends of the manager who had asked her to come and speak as a citizen (xintone.doc, p. 6, li 11-14). 113 Thus, co-opting was perceived to exist at many levels, from citizens through high-level elected officials. The impact was believed to depend on the extent of the Hotel's connections with elected officials and members of the media, for example: [then I realized]. . .all these people [at the Hotel] were involved in supporting [a prominent provincial politician]. . . and that [this prominent politician] has some interests in some hotel business. I don't know how much of a silent partner he is, but he has connections to the hotel industry. I just realized that I had stepped into a very deep puddle and I didn't really want anybody knowing me anymore (yintone.doc, p. 8, li 42^ 15; p. 9, li 1-2). Co-opting contributes to the dominant agent's ability to coerce the less powerful party (Hypothesis 7.5). Coercing reinforces the power that co-opting contributes to bargaining (Hypothesis 7.6). Attacks on the reputations and characters of opposition campaign leaders printed in co-opted newspapers were thought to contribute to the potential for the Hotel to coerce other citizens to either not oppose the application or to not become leaders in the opposition campaign. They expressed disappointment at the media reports, as the following two examples illustrate: There's some article in the newspaper . . .and lo and behold, what does it contain? Big ads for the Hotel, and the editorials. . .[were] a wholesale attack on moi! Like, "who is this guy anyway? He doesn't represent the community!" (xintone.doc, p. 7, li 33—40). This had become such a heated fight in the papers. . .and [the small, neighbourhood newspapers] had just fallen in with the Hotel [by printing things 114 like]: "those idiots out there who want to push us back to the Prohibition days. Those moralists!.. .they're just against progress!" (zintone.doc, p. 11, li 24-28). As editorial attacks circulated throughout the neighbourhood, they began to perceive bargaining as something more ominous than a few hand-shakes and back-slaps between long-time acquaintances and good friends. Coercing refers to the process of forcing others to act or think in a certain way through pressure, threats, intimidation, domination, restraint, or force, aiming for compliance among potential sources of opposition. A feedback loop between co-opting and coercing appears to have evolved as the Referendum campaign progressed. The more the media became co-opted, the more ability the Hotel had to coerce citizens into silent acquiescence. Opposition campaign leaders began to comprehend the strong personal and business connections between the Hotel and powerful, high profile politicians, the more they came to believe that there was strong potential for bargaining to influence the referendum process. For example, opposition campaign leaders believed the Hotel had coerced bureaucrats within City Hall to refrain from stating professional opinions about the potential impact of the proposed store: I said [to one city official]: "I hope that in order to avoid a lawsuit that you don't start misrepresenting the facts of what happened here. Because, I said, that would really be a shame" (xintone.doc, p. 12, li 53-54). Co-opting and coercing contribute to feelings of vulnerability and isolation (Hypothesis 7.7). Opposition campaign leaders described the Referendum more in terms of a confrontation between the "haves" and "have nots," rather than an opportunity for collaborative problem solving across social class structures, as the following quotations illustrate: 115 So you can see the connection between. . .the people. . .who make things happen in a city, [they] all kind of know one another. . .and they're on one side of the fence and then there are citizens who basically have. . .a different set of interests, but they're not connected with the people who run the show. People who run the show, certainly most of them don't live over here [referring to the East Side], they don't really care about citizens, they're, well, they're businessmen (xintone.doc, p.3, li 44-50). You live near UBC. . .that's just not reality. It's very difficult for people who haven't. . .lived in this place to appreciate. . .There's no research done on impact of this kind of thing in the neighbourhood. We desperately need that kind of research. We need to know exactly what the psychological impact is. We need to know what the real degree of personal threat is. . .. that's what a neighbourhood like this needs. . .[this kind of work] won't happen within the political world that's out there because they don't really want to know how bad it is (yintone.doc, p. 9, li 36^ 12). Co-opting and coercing contribute directly to the resources of the more powerful agent (Hypothesis 7.8). Resources gained this way tend to be used to bargain for favours and promote private gain, rather than to protect the public good. One goal of co-opting and coercing is to alienate citizens from their formal and informal sources of support (e.g. elected officials, bureaucrats, other citizens). By making citizens feel vulnerable and isolated, co-opting and coercing decrease the potential resources available to a ground-swell of civic activity (Hypothesis 7.9). 116 Feeling Vulnerable and Isolated Feeling vulnerable refers to a sense of feeling open to attack. Opposition campaign leaders talked about their vulnerability in terms of personal liability for their public actions during the Referendum, including feeling vulnerable to being sued. As individuals, they felt vulnerable to financial repercussions of being sued for libel. In fact, all study participants were influenced so profoundly by this that the researcher agreed to protect their identities in this work. Two years after the Referendum at the time of my interviews, one campaign leader warned other citizens who might consider participating in a referendum: "personally, it's not the kind of thing that people should seriously consider if they have to face lawsuits" (yintone.doc, p. 7 li 33-34). The lawsuit launched by the Hotel was very successful at creating an atmosphere to discourage a broad base of citizen participation, which campaign leaders believed was the intent of the lawsuit. Feeling vulnerable about their own health and safety and that of their families also figured prominently in campaign leaders' discussions of their experiences, as the following quotations illustrate: It got so bad at one point that... I said "we have a process here that has gone all haywire. And what's happening is . . . one of these people in this area that has been acting in the public interest, has been unfairly attacked by these lawyers and I think . . . is going to have a mental breakdown" (xintone.doc, p. 10, li 28-30). They slashed [my] tires . . . I drove around and nobody else's tires were slashed . . . [my housemate] got worried because . . . [he] saw the [Hotel manager's] big black limousine . . . sitting out in the front [of our house] and looking up at the house, prior to the tire slashing business . . . all these things were 117 making people nervous—the tire slashing, the kind of slow cruising by the house, the constant threats from lawyers, [a person] who actually knew the people at the Hotel, told us "These are really dangerous people . . . at the Hotel . . . You don't want to have anything to do with them. They're really nasty people." We'd heard that the bar they had run was a biker bar. So everybody was getting really nervous (xintone.doc, p. 13, li 24-35). I was very concerned for my kids. Their stability was on the line . . . it was affecting my kids because they'd go to school and it was all around the school. For them, it just wasn't fair (yintone.doc, p. 7, li 20-28). Feeling vulnerable was perceived to affect almost every facet of opposition campaign leaders' experiences with the Referendum. In addition to feeling vulnerable to being sued, they worried about the mental health of their co-leaders, feared further damage their personal property, worried about the Hotel's reported connections to organized crime, and worried about how their public stance on this issue was being used by others against their children. Opposition campaign leader also described feeling vulnerable to being accused of lacking objectivity and of being a group of irrational neo-prohibitionists. This resulted from having their reputations maligned and their credibility questioned by the media; hence, they began to perceive that those emotional energies could be used against them, if exposed in public: People always cite these kinds of cases. They say, well, look, here are these people screaming at us . . . They're yelling at us, they're unreasonable, they don't know what they're talking about (xinttwo.doc, p. 1, li 44^ -8). Opposition campaign leaders considered themselves reasonable people and did not want to be perceived as irrational, screaming zealots by either the general public or city officials. This worry 118 forced them to monitor carefully how they behaved during public meetings. Feeling vulnerable also made them feel sensitive about the media portrayals of their characters and reputations. Because feeling vulnerable tends to decrease the number of citizens willing to speak publicly about their stance on a controversial issue, it also results in increased feelings of isolation for those citizens who do continue to participate (Hypothesis 7.10). This stems from citizens feeling segregated from other citizens. Feeling isolated tends to emerge when the usual connections among citizens are severed. Threats to personal safety, financial well-being, and mental health create ideal situations within which large numbers of citizens disengage in participation, and can lead to the erosion of the support network that underpins a ground-swell of citizen involvement. Thus, isolation enhances feelings of vulnerability (Hypothesis 7.11). Feeling isolated made opposition campaign leaders feel like pariahs within their neighbourhood. Because they strongly feared being vulnerable to threats made by the Hotel, other citizens no longer wanted to be associated with the cause or be associated with the opposition campaign leaders. Rather than facilitating widespread participation, the Referendum was described as an unpleasant, frightening, and isolating process. As the following quotation illustrates, citizens who had become involved in a community-based group in Mount Pleasant had done so because they liked the friendships and sense of neighbourliness that developed out of that group: The reason [people in the neighbourhood] were [participating in a community-based group] was because they liked the nice stuff that was going on between people in the neighbourhood, and this was just the opposite. This was . . . nasty stuff and, if anything made them not want to have anything to do with a community group, it would be just this kind of thing (xintone.doc, p. 18, li 2-5). 119 Members of this community-based group were both revolted and terrified by the lawsuit and other intimidating actions employed by the Hotel. As a result, members of this group withdrew from participating publicly in the Referendum, leaving the opposition campaign leaders alone. Feeling isolated denied them a sense of camaraderie that might have helped them cope. In response to the open-ended nature of the legal writ, most of the other citizens in the neighbourhood were silenced: They sued us and "all other persons unknown," it just sent a real scare into a lot of people. . . . the threat of a lawsuit came upon anybody and everybody within hearing distance (zintone.doc, p. 5, 30-31, 16-17). The clause—"all other persons unknown"—was thought to provide a veiled, yet effective, warning to all citizens considering speaking against the new store. Feeling vulnerable was enhanced by the open-ended nature of this legal threat. One person described this sense of isolation in the following way: Everybody pulled out. They said this isn't worth being attacked. They said . . . if these lawyers go after us and start suing us and they drag us through the courts, we'll lose our houses . . . and after that . . . literally everybody cleared out, they didn't want anything to do with us. (xintone.doc, p.7, li 25—29). Feeling isolated and feeling vulnerable are barriers to widespread citizen participation in referendums (Hypothesis 7.12). As the previous quotation illustrates, citizens tend to disengage from a public cause, despite genuinely believing in it, because their experiences tended to make them feel vulnerable and isolated. Perhaps in reality what the referendum process offers citizens is a chance to be publicly maligned, threatened, and harassed, rather than an opportunity to participate in a fair and equitable decision-making process. 120 Feelings of vulnerability and isolation were exacerbated when opposition campaign leaders turned to city bureaucrats for help. Campaign leaders talked about feeling shocked when they realized the bureaucrats, too, may have been threatened with the lawsuit. At this point, they began to realize the scope of feeling vulnerable, as the following quotation illustrates: "[we] couldn't believe that the City . . . [was also] . . . trying to . . . avoid getting dragged into a lawsuit." (xintone.doc, p. 12, li 4-5). Feeling vulnerable and isolated are perceived to have implications beyond the individual level, having the capacity to paralyze future attempts to activate citizen participation (Hypothesis 7.13). The referendum is a process which, in theory, should facilitate citizen participation, but tends to result in negative and destructive experiences. As the following quotation illustrates, opposition campaign leaders wondered if another process could have been used to settle this issue: This referendum process wasted everybody's time . . . Why don't you [City Council] have other tools available to you for dealing with these things? . . . Why don't you try to . . . deal with these issues through some kind of community-based process, rather than this kind of formal, quasi-legalistic thing (xintone.doc, p. 16, li 48-54). It is interesting to note that even after such a negative experience, opposition campaign leaders still hoped that participatory decision making of some sort was possible and even preferable to having all decisions made by an elected group of elites. Feeling isolated and vulnerable throughout the Referendum, however, was the dominant recollection when they talked about their experiences during the Referendum. These feelings later evolved into feelings of bitterness about their experiences. As one opposition campaign leader put it: "Ultimately, this 121 has left me feeling very bitter—a level of bitterness that I didn't expect from myself (yintone.doc, p. 10, li 35-36). Being threatened and shunned by their community was a high price to pay for participating in a process that should have been empowering and participatory. Dissatisfaction regarding the irony of their experience boiled over for one opposition campaign leader who saw the Referendum as: a crazy way to try and deal with this issue . . . you know to involve lawyers and judicial process, and tons of money on a referendum . . . we have this institutional process . . . it gets the government involved, it gets the legal profession involved and becomes this great big ungodly quagmire (xintone.doc, p. 16, li 3-8). Barriers to widespread participation results in a situation that favours the promotion of private gain over the protection of the public good. To overcome these barriers, citizens who do remain as campaign leaders must transition through two phases of experiencing a referendum: relinquishing and restructuring perceived roles (Hypothesis 7.14). Relinquishing This section describes the concepts associated with relinquishing. Figure 18 illustrates the Figure 18. : Relinquishing Bargaining V J r r» 1 8.2^ 8.4 Hope for Fit Lack of Fit . 8.1 Relinquishing 8.5 Disillusionment 8.3 Power Imbalances Realistic Aspirations 8.6 Barriers 122 hypothesized relationships among the concepts associated with relinquishing. Relinquishing refers to the process of citizens letting go of a set of perceptions that have been proved erroneous. It allows citizens to resolve their dissonance about what the referendum process "should be" and what it "really is." Relinquishing results from a mismatch between hope regarding the capacity of the referendum to facilitate participation and the disempowerment experienced during a referendum (Hypothesis 8.1). Relinquishing provides an opportunity for citizens to reevaluate and discard perceptions that have been proved naive. This was an unpleasant process for participants, and included reprimands from City Hall about the "proper" way for campaign leaders to behave during referendums: "None of us knew the referendum rules . . . [but] we found them out very quickly . . . by asking City Hall, what we were allowed to do, what we weren't allowed to do" (zintone.doc, p. 5, li 10-14). The campaign leaders also realized that the Hotel was willing to spend a great deal of money to overcome the negative image created by selling alcohol in a neighbourhood well known for its alcohol problems. The following quotation summarizes their beliefs about the Hotel disregarding its social responsibility: We felt the advertising [campaign] was very, very one sided . . . They [the Hotel] spent big money, mega dollars, [on holding the Referendum and on their advertising campaign] because the beer and wine store is just like a cash cow. [If you have a beer and wine store], you are going to rake in profit after profit after profit. As you sell to people who have got alcohol problems . . . they're going to come in and just empty your shelves on welfare Wednesday, welfare weekend (zintone.doc, p. 5, li 38-47). 123 As they talked about how the events of the Referendum unfolded, they described the process in terms more suited to an election campaign designed to sway voters, rather than a campaign to facilitate a reasoned debate among a broad base of citizens. Bargaining, and the resultant lack of fit between hopes and realities, led to opposition campaign leaders relinquishing their hopes regarding the capacity of the Referendum to provide a voice for citizens living in a disenfranchised neighbourhood (Hypothesis 8.2). Relinquishing, however, enables a continuation of civic activities with more realistic aspirations (Hypothesis 8.3). Citizens have limited potential for equitable participation within the referendum process because of their inability to participate on equal footing with commercial interests due to the extreme power imbalances experienced during a referendum (Hypothesis 8.4). The transition from relinquishing to overcoming is characterized by a series of disillusionments and corresponding realizations, which ultimately led to more realistic aspirations (Hypothesis 8.5). As the following quotation illustrates, opposition campaign leaders were disgusted because they believed the Hotel and elected officials had disregarded the public good in favour of private gain: When I saw that all business wanted was the money and they couldn't care less about the people, I was just really, really angry . . . And I was further angry that our government was so stupid, that it would even consider this idea (zintohe.doc, p. 4, li 30-36). Making the transition from relinquishing to overcoming forced opposition leaders to confront a series of barriers to maintain their participation in the Referendum and retain any hope of winning the vote (Hypothesis 8.6). Despite describing this as a demoralizing phase in the process, opposition campaign leaders spent considerable time describing how they restructured 124 their roles and built on existing levels of civic-mindedness to develop their determination to overcome barriers. The concepts of civic-mindedness and determination are discussed further in the next section. Overcoming This section describes the concepts associated with overcoming. Figure 19 illustrates the Restructuring Figure 19 : Overcoming 9.3 9.4 9.2 Common Ground Recognizing & Adapting to Power Converting Anger into Constructive Action 9.9 9.8. Naturally Civic-minded Civic-mindedness 9.5 9.6 9.7 Inner Strength Convincing Other Citizens Knowing Rights of Citizenship 9.14 Determination 9.11 9.10 9.12 9.13 Investment 9.16 Collective Strength 9.15,9.17 Feeling Vulnerable & Disenfranchised Environment 9.1 9.18 < Gender Overcoming 9.19 J Threat of Lawsuit Developing Tactics 125 hypothesized relationships among the associated concepts. Overcoming is the third phase of being involved and refers to the process of surmounting barriers presented during the referendum process. It is critical to maintaining citizen participation in the referendum process. Barriers may include negative attitudes about other stakeholders, overly bureaucratic procedures, economic inequities between stakeholders, and disenfranchised environments. Overcoming occurs through the process of restructuring, building on civic-mindedness, and developing determination (Hypothesis 9.1). O v e r c o m i n g T h r o u g h R e s t r u c t u r i n g Restructuring refers to citizens' responses to inequities between their resources and those available to commercial interests, elected officials, and bureaucrats. Inequities may exist in financial resources, the availability of expertise, and the amount of "paid" time citizens can allot to participating in referendums. As Figure 19 illustrates, overcoming is influenced by restructuring (Hypothesis 9.2). Restructuring requires citizens to recognize and adapt to the realities imposed by power imbalances (Hypothesis 9.3). Because campaign leaders were not paid to participate in the Referendum, they were unable to dedicate time to the same degree as the professional the Hotel had hired to direct its campaign. One opposition campaign leader expressed frustration about the perception of an uneven playing field by saying: Everybody . . . involved, other than the citizens, this was part of their job, they were making money, they were being paid. Whereas citizens, like . . . and I, well, we weren't being paid. I mean we were doing this stuff in our spare time ... the City Clerk, gets well paid for . . . dealing with these referendums, but citizens, they don't get paid anything. So when . . . [citizens are] involved in the heavy 126 duty, long, strung-out battle, what it means is that they have to devote large amounts of their own time to deal with an issue, when other people are being paid well to do it. . . . And that inevitably means that one side ends up being weaker. You're weaker because more people can't afford a huge amount of time, (xintone.doc, p. 18, li 20-28). Because they saw their campaign as under-resourced and, thus, inherently weaker than the Hotel's, campaign leaders restructured their roles to exploit their strengths and downplay their weaknesses. Rather than risk further isolation, they believed they should try to maintain the support remaining within the neighbourhood. This was made more difficult because many other citizens felt vulnerable to the lawsuit. Campaign leaders now saw that the lawsuit had created an atmosphere in which everyone, including city officials, felt vulnerable to being sued. Through the wording of the writ, the Hotel threatened to implicate city bureaucrats in the lawsuit, if they spoke out against the proposed store. Opposition leaders were discouraged when they were informed by bureaucrats that the regulations of the Referendum prohibited all city officials, including the police, from stating their personal or professional opinions about the proposed Beer and Wine Store. Opposition leaders viewed the lawsuit as a "gag order" on city officials and believed that the resultant lack of support from city officials interfered with their ability to mount an effective campaign against the proposed store. They thought city officials should have been obliged to state their professional opinions on the potential for positive or negative impacts from the new store: All of a sudden . . . it wasn't proper for them [city officials] to speak. They had been reached by somebody, [and been told] "You've overstepped your bounds. 127 You don't have any right. You're just a civil servant. . . You don't have any right to make a political statement." . . . So, welcome to the world of politics or dirty ball or whatever you'd like to call it. But I was really incensed that those people who should be able to speak with authority, based on such experience, were being muzzled (zintone.doc, p. 12, li 8-21). Restructuring roles is affected by citizens' ability to convert anger into constructive action (Hypothesis 9.4). After the lawsuit was launched, opposition campaign leaders' ability to restructure roles hinged on their ability to use to their own advantage the anger generated by the unfairness of the referendum process. Restructuring helped them decide how they would participate and what resources they would require to be able to participate effectively. At this point in the Referendum, most community-based groups had been frightened off by the lawsuit. To deliver campaign leaflets, opposition campaign leaders depended on a few remaining community groups. For the most part, local churches were the only community groups who remained willing to take action. When I asked opposition campaign leaders about collaboration during the campaign period, they described their appreciation for the way the religious community had "stepped up" to fill the void left in the ground-swell when other community-based groups has withdrawn : Then we sent [the information leaflet] out . . . [via] this Christian network . . . what they did was they put this [leaflet] in their order of service . . . And I'm thinking that's just great! . . . we have trouble getting it printed . . . Anyway, they ended up printing it! They had an off-set printer, over at Glad Tidings or something, they printed it! And they got all these Christians out to deliver this thing. And they did a great job of delivering! (xintone.doc, p. 9, li 48-54). 128 Overcoming Through Civic-Mindedness Civic-mindedness refers to individuals having caring and nurturing attitudes toward their communities and is related to enthusiasm about a public issue. It implies that individuals feel a strong sense of community. As Figure 19 illustrates, overcoming is influenced by civic-mindedness (Hypothesis 9.5). Building civic-mindedness requires citizens to convince others to participate in discussions about public issues (Hypothesis 9.6). For example, the less experienced opposition campaign leader needed some initial persuasion to become involved in the Referendum. The most experienced opposition campaign leader was enthusiastic about the issue, familiar with the neighbourhood, and had access to information about neighbourhood health and safety concerns. By possessing these qualities, the experienced opposition campaign leader was able to develop in the less experienced opposition campaign leader a sense of civic-mindedness about the issue of alcohol control in their neighbourhood: At that time . . . I didn't have any feelings one way or the other about a beer and wine store, but [the experienced opposition campaign leader] seemed quite adamant and . . . seemed to be more in touch with the social impacts of alcohol consumption. It had to do with the stuff. . . [the experienced opposition campaign leader] was studying and [the experienced opposition campaign leader] also worked at the Neighbourhood House in Mount Pleasant. So [the experienced opposition campaign leader] . . . knew the area, and . . . knew the issue better than I did (xintone.doc; p. 2, li 12-19). In addition to knowing the neighbourhood, the experienced opposition campaign leader also had expertise regarding the impact of alcohol in the neighbourhood. Civic-mindedness implies something more than feeling a strong sense of belonging to the place where you live. 129 Civic-mindedness implies that citizens have considered their rights and responsibilities and have chosen to act in accordance with the best knowledge they have to protect the public good (Hypothesis 9.7). Civic-mindedness exists along a continuum. Opposition campaign leaders realized that some citizens are inclined naturally towards being civic-minded. Citizens who are more civic-minded are more inclined to take public actions to promote the public good, including attending public meetings, working on campaigns, and voting in referendums (Hypothesis 9.8). Some citizens may prefer simply to be neighbourly, rather than get involved in civic activism regarding a controversial issue. As one opposition campaign leader put it: "[Some] people don't want to be involved heavily, but they all would like to be involved lightly. They like that tentative connection so they can move in and out of community work" (xintone.doc, p. 1; li 47^ -8). Considering how effective the lawsuit was at stifling the ground-swell, it is easy to understand why many citizens preferred to limit their civic involvement to pleasant, neighbourly interactions. Those citizens living in Mount Pleasant who preferred to be lightly involved in community-based groups and who enjoyed being involved in neighbourly associations were not comfortable participating in a formal process like the Referendum. When responding to inquiries about their level of civic-mindedness, opposition campaign leaders asserted that civic-mindedness could be learned or developed through life experience. They did not perceive themselves as being particularly civic-minded, or as natural leaders within their neighbourhood. Rather, they explained their involvement in terms of it being the "right thing to do." As one opposition campaign leader stated: "It isn't like I go out seeking out referendums" (yintone.doc, p. 2, li 51). 130 The perception that citizens can develop civic-mindedness rather than relying on their natural civic inclinations disperses the responsibility for action on issues across the population of the neighbourhood, rather than focusing the entire burden of action on the "natural leaders." As a case in point, the inexperienced opposition campaign leader described a sense of discovery as he began developing a sense of civic-mindedness. Prior to becoming involved in the Referendum, one leader's experiences with other citizens of Mount Pleasant was mostly with homeless people living in the neighbourhood: They look kind of nasty. You know, they look kind of like nasty people . . . the people on the street look kind of mean . . . what I call "corpus derelecti" - these kind of guys that lie on the street (xintone.doc, p.3, li 2-6 and li 16). After discovering another side of the neighbourhood, this leader was surprised to learn that many of his neighbours shared similar ideas, as the following quotation illustrates: [by] going around and knocking on people's doors, I ran into all the people who are normally invisible. Like they don't hang out on the streets, you know, [they don't] scream and throw beer bottles and dig through garbage cans. They're inside, you just don't see them. I mean, they're normally just invisible. And I ran into all sorts of friendly, interesting people that were just like me (xintone.doc, p. 3, li 8-12). Finding common ground and sharing experiences contributes to the development of civic-mindedness (Hypothesis 9.9). Neighbours who thought they had nothing in common eventually learned that they had many things in common. 131 Overcoming Through Determination Living in a disenfranchised environment creates a barrier to overcoming (Hypothesis 9.10). As Figure 19 illustrates, a high level of determination on behalf of the leaders contributes to their ability to overcome a sense that their neighbourhood had deteriorated to a state of hopelessness and powerlessness (Hypothesis 9.11). On the macro level, opposition leaders thought they needed to develop determination to overcome the impact of economic and social conditions on their neighbourhood. For example, they suggested that the number of alcoholics and addicts living on the streets in Mount Pleasant would not be tolerated by people living on the West Side. Alcoholics and addicts on the street tend to be viewed as an unfortunate fact of life in some parts of Mount Pleasant. On the micro level, a high rate of family breakup was believed to be a significant barrier for many individuals living in Mount Pleasant. Abandonment and abuse of children were thought to contribute to the sense of hopelessness and powerlessness for many families living in the neighbourhood. Opposition campaign leaders perceived that the devastation of the social fabric of Mount Pleasant had resulted in a high rate of individual hopelessness and powerlessness, and in citizens learning "self-worthlessness." They believed that determination would be required to overcome the overwhelming social and economic problems that faced many less fortunate residents of Mount Pleasant. The following quotation captures the sentiments of one opposition campaign leader who viewed overcoming as an unlikely experience for many of Mount Pleasant's most disenfranchised citizens: You see so many . . . overdoses over here [on the East Side] . . . [and many] are intentional overdoses. I mean to the extent that we can . . . determine that. It's an easy way out. You just shoot a bit more and it'll be the greatest high ever, and 132 before I know it, I'm gone, I'm out of this pain, I'm out of this agony (zintone.doc, p. 3, li 26-29). Opposition campaign leaders thought that much of the hopelessness and powerlessness experienced in their neighbourhood was related to widespread alcohol and other drug problems in the neighbourhood. For one opposition campaign leader, overcoming is one of the primary reasons for continuing to live in the neighbourhood, as the following quotation illustrates: The brokenness that really gets me is the family brokenness . . . I'd say that's 80 percent of the kids under 12 or 13 years old [that we deal with], have been sexually abused. And that's disgusting . . . that's the brokenness that won't let me leave this area (zintone.doc, p. 2, li 10-20) Opposition campaign leaders were in relatively better positions for overcoming than were many people living in Mount Pleasant; they were not living on the streets, but in relatively secure homes, they had education, modest to low-level incomes, shelter, food, and a degree of confidence associated with having those basic resources. Because of the confidence their more secure lifestyles afforded, opposition campaign leaders were able to develop determination throughout the Referendum campaign. Determination is influenced by the level of investment citizens make in their environment (Hypothesis 9.12). In addition to altruistic motivations for participating in the Referendum, opposition campaign leaders had a stake in their neighbourhood. Two had bought homes in the neighbourhood and all planned to make Mount Pleasant their permanent home. One opposition leader had dedicated his career to working in the neighbourhood. Overcoming is thus influenced by determination, as is illustrated in the following quotation: 133 My motivation seemed really clear to me . . . if they [the Hotel] got away with getting more alcohol . . . in the neighbourhood, it was just forcing me out and I wasn't ready to go at that point. We still hadn't finished the house. We still had a permit out to build a double garage. This didn't fit in with my agenda. I didn't want to be forced out... I felt like I wanted to have some power. I wanted to have my interests recognized in the process (yintone.doc, p. 10, li 8-16). Determination is influenced by perceived collective strength to affect the outcome of a referendum (Hypothesis 9.13). Opposition campaign leaders, and many of their neighbours, were part of a cohort of people who had decided to live in Mount Pleasant because it was more affordable than the West Side of Vancouver. They were determined not to be displaced again and became increasingly resolved to overcome the barriers to improving their living conditions. These two factors pushed them to begin taking action against anything that had the potential to further degrade their neighbourhood. The Referendum provided a vehicle for participation. As one key informant phrased it: The community were becoming organized . . . [some of them] are basically displaced yuppies from the West Side that can't afford real estate on the West Side. So they move into Mount Pleasant, low real estate, purchase the three level, typical Mount Pleasant house, renovate it, put a lot of money into it, and now they've got a vested interest in the community (aintone.doc, p. 2, li 10-20). Determination is based on a inner strength drawn from being civic-minded (Hypothesis 9.14). Determination counter-balances feelings of vulnerability and isolation (Hypothesis 9.15). High levels of determination propelled two opposition campaign leaders through the remainder 134 of the Referendum, as the following quotation illustrates: "I stayed because I guess I knew what was going on. I guess people don't push me around easily" (xintone.doc, p. 7, li 29-30). Determination is negatively influenced by threats, such as lawsuits (Hypothesis 9.16). The Hotel's lawsuit was perceived as a blatant threat, a tactic designed to break the determination of the campaign leaders, and anyone else who spoke publicly against the application, into silence: "I got my first letter from the lawyers at the Hotel, that basically said that this is libelous and, if you continue to do this, we will take you to court and sue you within an inch of your life" (xintone.doc, p.7, li 4-6). The menacing nature of the lawsuit was exacerbated by the delivery of several letters to the homes of the leaders, for example: and they are delivered to be as threatening as possible, these letters are delivered by process servers or couriers and what these people do is they don't like put the letter through your door slot, they go BAM, BAM, like they beat down your door . . . and . . . basically, scare the wits out of you. Then the letter is phrased in a way that is like menacing, menacing as hell! Like, "We're going to get you!" (xintone.doc, p.7, li 6-12). the courier service that had delivered the letter was literally pounding on my door . . . I had a football player delivering a writ to me (yintone.doc, p. 3, li 46, p. 4, H21). The lawsuit was perceived as having been launched at a specific time to intimidate opposition campaign leaders and their supporters before they distributed a second campaign leaflet in Mount Pleasant: 135 They're trying to scare us. They're trying to shut us up. In the first flyer, we said nothing about the opinions of the police because [one of the opposition campaign leaders] wanted to put out a second flyer, and that business of the police he wanted to put in the second one. So I said: "They know there's another one coming because we didn't put some of our strongest material [in the first flyer]. And what they're trying to do is shut us up" (xintone.doc, p. 10, li 24-27). The lawsuit appears to have negatively affected the determination of the leader who stopped campaigning publicly, as the following quotation illustrates: [I was] absolutely panic-stricken. I think I'm the only one of this group that has anything to sue for. If they go ahead with it, I will lose all of my investments and my house. I'm also the only one that has any kids (yintone.doc, p. 5, li 29-31). This opposition leader believed the Hotel planned to continue with the lawsuit regardless of the outcome of the Referendum, and that there was a high likelihood of losing life savings and the family home as a result. For this leader, feeling vulnerable and isolated had a significant impact on determination (Hypothesis 9.17), and as a result, this person became less active publicly: "When they started suing and then I didn't want anything to do with it anymore" (yintone.doc, p. 10, li 17). As Figure 19 illustrates, gender may be related to how citizens respond to threats like the lawsuit (Hypothesis 9.18). In this Referendum, male and female opposition campaign leaders responded to threats in different ways. When asked to comment on gender, the female opposition campaign leader's response indicates an exclusion of the feminist approach to problem-solving: from a point of view of women . . . I think that the whole issue became usurped by male interests. I don't think there was any sense of feminism among any of the 136 people that I dealt with. I don't think they would have a clue what that was (yintone.doc, p. 10, li 8-10). She believed the referendum process was biased towards a "male way" of making decisions and solving problems. Her perception of the "male way" of making decisions was strongly associated with confrontation and conflict, rather than cooperative problem-solving. The female leader stated that she felt extremely vulnerable to being sued, a prospect that terrified her. She expressed concern for the impact the publicity was having on her children and other family members. In addition, she stated that she felt disconcerted about rumours she had heard about the Hotel's supposed association with violent crime. Moreover, she felt disheartened by her perception that the two male opposition campaign leaders had disregarded her fears about the lawsuit and had forged ahead with the opposition campaign. Male opposition campaign leaders made similar comments about the relationship between gender and responding to threat. As the following quotation illustrates, the male opposition campaign leaders perceived women living in the neighbourhood to have experienced high levels of vulnerability and isolation which resulted in negative experiences during the Referendum: "All the women in the community group, they're starting to feel kind of sick to their stomachs and they're feeling kind of pale" (xintone.doc, p. 8, li 4-5). One male opposition leader felt that women might be particularly vulnerable to threats because many of them had become involved in community-based organizations in order to enjoy the social aspects of civic activity. The male leaders believed that women represented a significant proportion of citizens living in the neighbourhood and were the most talented group of community organizers. This opposition campaign leader viewed women as more familiar with the concepts of collaboration and cooperation, as well as more experienced organizers within 137 community settings. He also viewed the women in the neighbourhood as more sensitive to the threatening nature of the lawsuit: Now, there's something interesting about these kinds of threats when it comes to a community group and that is, our best community organizers tend to be women, because women are more sensitive to the relationship between people. They're just the best, they do more of this than men do . . . A strong legal threat like that, a heavy duty threat, a nasty threat, it's actually got a real male sort of quality to it, these threats. It's kind of like, violence in verbal form . . . [these threats] just scared the wits out of [the women in the neighbourhood] (xintone.doc, p. 7, li 13-19). Male campaign leaders saw the impact of the lawsuit to be compounded because it simultaneously resulted in the withdrawal of the female opposition campaign leader (she was the most experienced community organizer of the three) and the retreat of the majority of women supporters from community groups. The transition from overcoming barriers to concretizing the issue required that citizens develop tactics to win votes (Hypothesis 9.19). Opposition leaders believed that the best way to win votes was to inform as many citizens as possible about the potential social and health problems associated with a new beer and wine store. Their campaign was based on a two-fold argument. First, they believed that citizens who were informed about the potential social and health problems associated with increased alcohol availability would be more likely to believe that the proposed store represented a threat to the well-being of their neighbourhood. Second, they surmised that well-informed citizens were more likely to take collective action during the Referendum. The leaders hoped that their campaign information would encourage other citizens 138 to talk with their neighbours, to write letters to the editors of local newspapers, to telephone City Council, and to vote against the proposed store during the Referendum. Concretizing This section describes the concepts associated with concretizing. Figure 20 illustrates the hypothesized relationships among the concepts associated with concretizing. "Concretizing" refers to the process of framing the issue under debate during a referendum in a very specific and realistic manner, by presenting the issue in terms of its perceived health and social impact. Concretizing is the fourth phase of being involved. Opposition campaign leaders provided concrete illustrations to convey to the public the effect that increased alcohol availability would have on the health and well-being of the neighbourhood. They set out to frame the issue using very specific images that would help voters visualize the potential harm to the neighbourhood: Figure 20 ' i: Concretizing Concretizing 10.1 Talk About Concerns Favourable Press 10.7 10.6 Elevating 10.2 10.4 10.5 Developing Convictions Either/Or Choices Limited Appeal Extreme Claims 10.3 Polarizing Stakeholders 139 why would anybody want to pump more booze into this area? Why [would the Hotel] want to pour more booze into this area? This store that would be open from 8 o'clock in the morning till 11 o'clock at night and seven days a week (zintone.doc, p. 4, li 22-24). Concretizing the issue tends to result in citizens developing convictions about issues and people based on relatively little information (Hypothesis 10.1). By simplifying issues to either/or choices and portraying people as either "with us" or "against us," this process tends to polarize issues and stakeholders (Hypothesis 10.2). Concretizing does not appear to result in arguments that appeal to a broad range of citizens (Hypothesis 10.3), appealing only to those citizens who agree with the way the issue is framed (Hypothesis 10.4). For example, opposition campaign leaders distributed a leaflet with the image of a drunk person sleeping on a bus stop bench to make a statement about the proposed new beer and wine store. They thought that the media had been co-opted, which resulted in biased reporting, and may have distorted their attempts to concretize the issue: what they [the newspapers] do is really amazing! If they get a lot of advertising from an outfit, they'll write favourable news stories and editorials. . . . This is mind-boggling! (xintone.doc, p. 4, li 12-20) so we talked with the editors of the [neighbourhood newspaper], and we asked them: "Why is it that you take such a one-sided stand rather than report [the news]? Why have you . . . stood so against [us]? We can understand your editorial . . . rights, but, why are your reporters reporting it on just a one-sided [basis]? Aren't they supposed to hold both sides forth" (zintone.doc, p. 11, li 32-38)? 140 As the following example illustrates, when confronting an editor of one small, neighbourhood newspaper about this issue, one opposition leader asked blunt questions: "when I sent the news release to [the editor] I said, 'This is a fair representation of what happened at the [public] meeting. My question to you is: Will you print it? Or will your friendship with the Hotel cause you to ignore it?'" (xintone.doc, p. 7, li 50-53) Opposition campaign leaders realized that broad-based support was difficult to garner on an issue as highly divisive as alcohol control. Their attempts to concretize the issue were believed to be manipulated by the media in a way that contributed to preexisting divisions between citizens. By portraying the issue in terms of a moral contest between modern day prohibitionists and a more enlightened business community, the media was viewed as contributing to the polarization of the stakeholders in the Referendum. Concretizing results in extreme claims being made by both sides of a referendum campaign (Hypothesis 10.5), for example: the Hotel went into high gear. . . . it did this constant barrage of advertising, door-to-door, colour brochures. Now, some of the stuff was fairly transparent. They said, on some of their brochures, and this is idiotic, but maybe they thought they'd get away with it. They said "Our beer and wine store will prevent crime!" I'm not sure how that works out, but . . . the line of argument was: "Well, we'll have a beer and wine store; it'll improve this commercial area and you get better businesses in; the whole area will improve; if the whole area improves and we have a lot of extra security around this place, there will be less crime." . . . They just basically said, "we're really helping to bring Mount Pleasant back to life" (xintone.doc, p. 4, li 1-9). 141 Opposition leaders thought that the Hotel's claims were unreasonable. They believed that the Hotel owners fully understood the potential health and social problems associated with opening this new store, yet preferred to turn a blind eye to problems because of the potential for huge profits. To counter the campaign employed by the Hotel, opposition leaders emphasized a concern held by most adults — fear about children being exposed to alcohol and public drinking. By using strong language and vivid images (e.g., the school yard as a urinal), opposition leaders brought the issue of children's exposure to public drinking to the forefront: I . . . pointed out how ludicrous it was to have this beer and wine store a block away from a government liquor store, both of which were in sight of a children's playground. Anyway, I repeated what the principal of the school had said which was: "the school yard continued to be the urinal for the Hotel" (yintone.doc, p.2, li 22-27). Concretizing the issue was the first tactic used by opposition campaign leaders to influence the outcome of a referendum. For them to participate in the Referendum, they needed to develop a concrete plan of action: "we basically . . . said: "Look . . . we'd better get together and do something about this" (xintone.doc, p. 5, li 38-39). At the outset of the Referendum process, opposition leaders developed a petition, signed by about one-hundred citizens in the neighbourhood, to persuade City Council to deny the Hotel an opportunity to hold a referendum: "I got a petition, over 100 names, and went to the liquor board and said this [new store] is a really bad idea" (yintone.doc, p. 1, li 29-30). Opposition campaign leaders assumed the petition would preempt the Hotel's attempt to hold a referendum; this assumption was incorrect and the Referendum was allowed to proceed. Unbeknownst to opposition campaign leaders, when the petition was submitted to city officials it 142 became part of the public domain. They believed the Hotel supporters had accessed the petition through public files at City Hall and had identified and harassed people who had signed their names to it: the petition became public domain. It was used by the Hotel later on — they've had a copy of the people who signed it and their addresses, and they made personal appearances at those people's doors. In hindsight, I would never do that again (yintone.doc, p. 1, li 35-38). The petition contributed to feelings of vulnerability and isolation among citizens who had signed it. Opposition campaign leaders asserted that the unscrupulous use of the petition by the Hotel greatly hampered their efforts to develop a ground-swell of citizen participation. In response, they developed and implemented a campaign of their own. The process of concretizing the issue required that the opposition campaign leaders collaborate with a variety of community-based groups. Successful collaboration required different groups to fulfill complementary roles during the Referendum. At this stage in the Referendum, however, most non-secular community-based groups had been neutralized effectively by the lawsuit: "it's the only way of making things work. Because here you've got basically a group of citizens and a big church network, saying "Look, it's in our interest to work together in this.". . . And they did a great job" (xintone.doc, p.10, li 4-8). Opposition leaders thought that it was unlikely that they would be able to complete the distribution of a second leaflet, as the day it was scheduled to be delivered throughout Mount Pleasant was also the final day that the Referendum regulations permitted distribution of campaign materials. In addition, the Hotel sought an injunction to stop the leaflet's distribution. 143 Prior to distributing this leaflet, opposition leaders decided to ask for advice from a supportive city official: we said this is the next [leaflet] that we want to print. . . [but the Hotel has] asked for an order to cease and desist [distribution of our leaflet] . . . in the middle of the Referendum. . . . He [a city official] said: "They won't get it, but just in case they do . . . get it out on the streets, get it out to the homes, right away" (zintone.doc, p. 10, li 26-30). In collaboration with volunteers from local churches, they completed distribution of the second leaflet prior to the campaigning deadline and before the Hotel's court injunction took effect: "I think what happened . . . is that [the Hotel] couldn't get [the court order] in time for the cut-off date [for distributing campaign materials] . . . their court date appearance . . . they couldn't get it quickly enough" (zintone.doc, p. 10, li 31-35). Opposition leaders recognized that collaborating with local churches was very important to the successful completion of distribution of the second wave of leaflets. They believed that they had worked within the rules and regulations of the Referendum and had done their utmost to concretize the issue for the voters in Mount Pleasant. The transition from concretizing to elevating begins when citizens talk publicly about their concerns about democratic freedoms (Hypothesis 10.6). By portraying the Hotel and their associates as enemies of the democratic process, and by portraying themselves as defenders of the public good, opposition campaign leaders initiated the transition to elevating. The transition from concretizing to elevating was further facilitated by receiving favourable, yet unexpected, publicity for the opposition campaign from the largest circulation daily in the city — the Vancouver Sun (Hypothesis 10.7). 144 Elevating This section describes the concepts and hypotheses of "elevating," which is the process of re-framing the issue under debate in a philosophical manner, as illustrated in Figure 21. Elevating, the fifth phase in being involved, refers to shifting the focus of public perception away from concrete health and social impact perceived to be associated with increased alcohol availability in the neighbourhood. Elevating shifts the focus of public perception towards the philosophical overtones of the debate, specifically those related to issues of rights and privileges associated with citizenship (Hypothesis 11.1). Elevating is facilitated in situations where a dominant agent uses the tools of the state (e.g., a lawsuit) to impinge upon the civil rights of a less powerful person or group (Hypothesis 11.2). Figure 21: Elevating Impinge on Civil Rights 11.2 Elevating 11.1 k r 11.3 Shifts Focus Misuse of State's Tools Favourable Press 11.4 Outcome of Referendum 145 Elevating the issue was influenced primarily through the unexpected favourable press received from the larger newspapers during the final days prior to the voting period (Hypothesis 11.3). The late-breaking reports on the lawsuit presented it as a strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP).40 The unexpected publicity focused on the perceived injustices of the lawsuit launched by the Hotel. This type of press coverage elevated the public perception of the issue from a concrete discussion about alcohol control to a higher level philosophical debate regarding freedom of speech and democratic participation in general. Elevating, and subsequently shifting the focus of the debate and the issues, influences the outcome of referendums (Hypothesis 11.4). By writing about the opposition campaign leaders' rights to free speech, rather than focusing on the concrete issues involved in alcohol control, these reports were thought to have influenced the outcome of the Referendum: "we were very, very thankful that the Vancouver Sun . . . jumped in with a really cutting article" (zintone.doc, p. 11, li 30-31). This article provided a scathing attack on the Hotel's attempt to limit opposition campaign leaders' rights to free speech by launching the lawsuit, which was crucial to elevating the issue, as the following quote illustrates: "if you're able to get things to work properly in the media, then you can probably shape public interest issues in a way that favours a citizen's perspective" (xintone.doc. p. 21, li 32-34). The public debate was no longer focused on making a concrete choice between individual freedom to purchase alcohol and moralistic stances on the dangers of alcohol consumption. By elevating the issue, they were able to re-frame it as a battle between citizens' freedom to speak out on policy issues versus big business' ability to control A strategic lawsuit against public participation may be defined as one that intends to limit citizen participation in debates regarding controversial public policy issues. For example, logging corporations have been reported to use SLAPPs to discourage environmentalists from actively campaigning against them. 146 public debate: "I think in the end what happened was . . . people got this message that all. . . [the Hotel] cared about was getting a beer and wine store. . . . And everybody thought that taking a lawsuit against citizens . . . was a bad idea. I think it backfired on them" (xintone.doc, p. 19, K1-5). When the larger newspapers in Vancouver began to portray the lawsuit as an attempt to curtail free speech, the opposition leaders believed that they looked like folk-heroes. The Hotel, in comparison, appeared to care about profit, not about the people living in Mount Pleasant. As the following quote illustrates, this newly discovered folk-hero status was a welcome change: these [larger] newspapers . . . started to take these pictures of me . . . they're all odd. They always took pictures of me with my arms crossed looking sort of like a visionary, out towards a horizon. And they take that from the bottom shooting up, so the pictures looked heroic. Anyway . . . so then everybody started seeing what we were doing as heroic. Which was kind of nice for a change, since we'd been assaulted so frequently (xintone.doc. p. 11, li 14-20). 147 Disengaging "Disengaging" refers to the process of dropping out of activities associated with social action, as Figure 16 in Chapter 5 illustrates by situating disengaging outside of the dotted line. Although citizens may disengage from the referendum process at any point (Hypothesis 12.1), the transition from being involved to staying involved is a high-risk time for disengaging (Hypothesis 12.2). As stated at the outset of Chapter 4, the rate of transition from one part of the conceptual model to the next may occur at varying rates for different people. The transition from being involved to staying involved in the referendum process is no exception. For citizens who do not disengage prior to or during the being involved phase, the process of not staying involved occurs (Hypothesis 12.3). As Figure 22 illustrates, successful transition depends on how experiences during referendums affect citizens' capacity to stay involved in civic activities (Hypothesis 12.4). Rather than viewing being involved as an empowering experience, one opposition leader viewed this transition point as the best chance to disengage from the referendum process, and did Figure 22 : Disengaging Experiences During Referendum Being Involved 12.4 Interpretation of Lawsuit 12.7 • f Staying Involved 12.1, 12.2, 12.3 Disengaging 12.6 Remove Valuable Resources 12.5 Reduce Vulnerability to Threats 148 so based on the advice of a lawyer. By disengaging from public scrutiny, this individual hoped to reduce feelings of vulnerability to threats (Hypothesis 12.5). Despite her attempts to disengage from the public campaign, she felt increasingly vulnerable and isolated due to the amount of controversial media attention that the behaviours of the other two leaders continued to generate: it doesn't matter . . . [the other opposition campaign leaders] can swear on a stack of bibles that I wasn't involved, but the [Hotel] can still drag me through court. They don't have to accept it. You can have [the other opposition campaign leaders] swear a statement that I didn't have any involvement with this, but I could be sitting for the next six months or a year waiting for this to go to the Supreme Court of Canada. . . . So I just felt absolutely horrified that this was going on. I felt like I had absolutely no control in it. I had relinquished all control by saying, I didn't want to be involved with it, yet, I was involved with it (yintone.doc, p. 6, li 52 and p. 7, li 1-7). When I asked why she wanted to disengage from the Referendum, she provided the following explanation: [I did not want to] make a political, media deal [out of the lawsuit] and I didn't want to be involved in that. I didn't want to be fighting other people's battles at this point. I didn't want to be in court. I didn't want to be sued. I didn't want to take another step. But, no matter what I did, we were surfing along (yintone.doc, p. 6, li 36-38). Disengaging during this transition period is particularly devastating to leadership structures within communities because it removes a set of valuable leadership resources from community-based social action at a critical time (Hypothesis 12.6). When a citizen, such as an 149 opposition campaign leader, disengages, a set of resources are removed from the community. Disengaging at this phase can be particularly problematic for two reasons: First, campaign leaders begin to depend on one another; Second, the community begins to view the opposition campaign leaders as defenders of the public good. Although none of the leaders made derogatory remarks about one another during the interviews, a degree of tension appeared to exist between the individual who attempted to disengage and the other two leaders.: [one opposition campaign leader] was still in a panic. . . . we kind of lost a little bit of touch. . . . [we] were mainly dealing with things after that (xintone.doc, p. 13, li 12-14). [the opposition campaign leader] who had been as strong as one of the three of us who were heading this up . . . just got panic stricken (zintone.doc, p. 6, li 32-33). The manner in which the lawsuit was interpreted influenced whether opposition campaign leaders decided to disengage or to maintain their campaign leadership roles (Hypothesis 12.7). They were somewhat familiar with the concept of corporations filing libel suits against individuals who opposed their corporate actions: "This is part and parcel of a SLAPP suit. They just go after everybody" (xintone.doc, p. 10, li 11-12). These opposition leaders believed that, like most SLAPPs, this suit would be dropped after the Referendum vote was held; this belief helped them to maintain their public participation. Recognizing on an intellectual level that the goal of the lawsuit was to force citizens to disengage from the referendum process did not ease the feelings of vulnerability to threats for one opposition leader, however, as she perceived the Hotel would punish those citizens who spoke against the proposed store. 150 CHAPTER 6: STAYING INVOLVED The purpose of this chapter is to describe the concepts associated with staying involved in civic activities following a referendum campaign. Figure 23 illustrates the hypothesized relationships among the concepts associated with staying involved. "Staying involved," the process of remaining a participant in civic activities after a referendum vote, is the third major stage of experiencing a referendum. Like becoming involved and being involved, the process of staying involved is influenced by democratic tradition, sociopolitical milieu and civic culture Figure 23 : Staying Involved Democratic Socio-political Civic Participating in a Referendum Campaign Re-Activating Re-Structuring Anticipating Bargaining Relinquishing Reconstituting Overcoming Elevating Concretizing Recovering Disengaging 151 (Hypothesis 13.1)41 Staying involved is the first step towards forcing incremental shifts in these contexts (Hypothesis 13.2). By staying involved, citizens alter the contexts within which decision making about public issues takes place (Hypothesis 13.3). As contexts begin to evolve and shift, citizens tend to build on their previous experiences to respond to new environments (Hypothesis 13.4). Being involved in the Referendum may have seemed to be a disempowering experience in the short term. Over the long-term, however, opposition campaign leaders began to be viewed as seasoned veterans of community organizing by people living in the neighbourhood, business leaders, and city officials. When I asked one key informant to describe his perceptions of how the Referendum had affected the opposition campaign leaders, he summarized the impact in the following way: what [the Hotel was] basically saying [is]: I got a lot of bucks. I own three hotels . . . you piss me off, [and] I'm going to get lawyers on your butt. . . . [However, the opposition campaign leaders] didn't back off. . . . I think, is he running for City Council? I think he's working his way there (aintone.doc, p. 12, li 1-8). This key stakeholder was impressed with the capacity of the opposition campaign leaders to stand up to the Hotel's threat. He shared a rumour that one of the opposition leaders had decided to run for City Council and commented that this opposition leader had responded to the Referendum in a very empowered way.42 Staying involved includes two primary phases: reconstituting and recovering (Hypothesis 13.5). 4 1 A list of all the hypotheses related to staying involved in a referendum campaign may be found in Tables 18 to 23 in Appendix E. 4 2 The opposition campaign leader referred to by this key informant had no plans to run for City Council. 152 Reconstituting This section describes the concepts associated with reconstituting. Figure 24 illustrates the hypothesized relationships among the concepts associated with reconstituting. "Reconstituting," the first phase of staying involved, refers to the act of reflecting on behaviours during a referendum campaign. Reconstituting results in various cognitive and social support maneuvers to deal with-uncertainty, including preparing for a negative outcome or defeat in a referendum (Hypothesis 14.1). The process of dealing with uncertainty influences the process of recovering (Hypothesis 14.2). As they waited for the results of the Referendum, one opposition leader defined the feelings of apprehension: "everybody [was] waiting for the results. I'm sort of confident we're going to win, but I mean nobody knows for sure" (xintone.doc, p. 14, li 22-23). In addition to reflecting on the Referendum campaign events, they described reconstituting as a time for bracing themselves against the uncertainty posed by the next phase of the lawsuit. In preparation for their court appearances, the leaders had many conversations with their lawyers. As the date for the official announcement of the Referendum results approached, opposition campaign leaders described hearing rumours that the Hotel was planning to drop the lawsuit. Figure 24" M: Reconstituting Reconstituting Anger & Suspicion 14.1 14.2 Cognitive, Social Maneuvers Giving up on Revenge 14.3 + Dealing with Uncertainty 14.4 Recovering 153 A few days later, the City Council announced the results of the vote — the Hotel's application for a new beer and wine store had not received enough support to be approved. Because opposition campaign leaders were now more familiar with the rules and regulations governing the conduct of referendums in Vancouver, they realized that City Council had the ultimate power to decide about the acceptability of the Referendum results. One key informant described the role of City Council in terms of power: the City has power . . . to decide whether or not it will endorse the application. And if the City Council does not endorse the application, it doesn't go anywhere . . . . it isn't related just to achieving 60 per cent [on a referendum vote]. It has never happened, but theoretically an application could receive 60 per cent or more votes in favour of the application, but it could still be denied by Council, for whatever reason. So, definitely Council has power (bintone.doc, p. 7, li 12-17). Hopes for an immediate and amicable reconciliation between the two stakeholders were revised after the Hotel made a plea to City Council about the unfair nature of the Referendum: after the end of the Referendum . . . the Hotel wanted to make a presentation to . . . City Council, and we didn't know what they were going to say, so we thought we'd better be there. Basically they said, "This referendum process is really unfair! We've spent piles of money and it was completely and utterly unfair!" and I think they're going to try again. We know they're going to try again. They're probably setting it up so they can . . . get approval for another referendum, and they'll try over again (xintone.doc, p. 16, li 15-20). 154 Anger and suspicion undermine the transition from reconstituting to recovering (Hypothesis 14.3). Although the Hotel announced its decision to drop the lawsuit soon after the results of the Referendum were announced, one opposition leader found it very difficult to achieve closure about the idea of being sued. Opposition campaign leaders thought that the Hotel owners and staff were angry because they lost the Referendum, despite expending considerable resources. The opposition leaders remained suspicious; they feared that the Hotel would make a presentation to City Council after the results had been announced, and that Council would overturn the results because of the lawsuit: my paranoid fantasy of what was going to happen was that [the Hotel] was going to go to Council after they had lost, with us still before the court, and say: "We have to overturn the Referendum results because of what these people have done." And then Council would say: "Fine, go ahead and do it.". . . That was how the scenario was playing out in my head (yintone.doc, p. 6, li 35-38). In an official announcement, the Hotel declared that it was withdrawing the lawsuit because it respected the neighbourhood's expressed wishes not to have a new beer and wine store. This rationale was received with a great deal of skepticism by opposition campaign leaders, who described feeling somewhat vindicated by the announcement: so, then [the Hotel issued] a press release saying: "Well, we want to respect the wishes of the community, so we're going to drop the lawsuit." Well, the two never really had anything to do with one another really. Basically, the lawsuit was about the fact that we'd lied . . . somehow, they had incurred some sort of financial loss as a result of our "lying," and I've never figured out exactly what we lied about but . . . so they said we're dropping the lawsuit, which is exactly 155 what happens in a SLAPP. So long as it doesn't serve any useful purpose it's dropped (xintone.doc, p. 14, li 30-34). During the latter stages of reconstituting, opposition leaders considered seeking revenge on the Hotel by filing a counter-suit. Their counter-suit would have demanded that the Hotel pay for "special costs" associated with their legal defence. After some serious consideration, the idea of launching a counter-suit was discarded: if we [did] go to court and [won], [we] still don't win because [we] don't get a dollar on the dollar, [we] get about 85 cents on the dollar (yintone.doc, p. 5, li 36-38); we figured our chances were about 50/50. The court doesn't like awarding special costs, it doesn't do it very often (xintone.doc, p. 14, li 42-43). Giving up the idea of revenge marks the beginning of a transition from reconstituting to recovering (Hypothesis 14.4). Opposition campaign leaders did not think that a continuation of the legal battle over this issue was worth the time, effort, or expense. At this point in the process they were running low on energy: it's almost as though we were so drained by it. Once [we] put it down [we wanted to say:] "Let's not dwell on it, let's get on with other things." . . . the big thing was the intense involvement of . . . the people who are in the community (zinttwo.doc, p. 2, li 30-33). Although they wanted to tackle other issues related to alcohol control in Vancouver, they did not know if they had the energy to do so; they needed to recover from their Referendum experiences. As one opposition leader put it: "I actually don't think there should be any liquor outlets in any area of town where alcohol abuse is a problem . . . if we had a little bit more energy we'd probably pursue this" (xintone.doc, p. 16, li 39-43). 156 Recovering This section describes the concepts associated with recovering. Figure 25 illustrates the hypothesized relationships among the concepts associated with recovering. "Recovering" refers to the ability of citizens to recuperate from their negative experiences during a referendum in order to continue with civic-minded activities. This process is important in order to maintain their ongoing commitment to protect and promote the public good, and to develop a renewed sense of confidence (Hypothesis 15.1). Self-confidence is reflected in an individual's belief about the capacity to make a difference in the community, as well as a belief about the capacity of their neighbourhood to influence social change collectively. Recovering means that stakeholders must adjust their perception of one another (Hypothesis 20.2). To begin the recovering process, opposition leaders attempted to reconcile the Hotel's motivations and behaviours during the Referendum: Figure 25 : Recovering r \ Vulnerability & Isolation 15.6 Frame of Reference 15.7 Previous Experience 15.4 15.8 Recovering 15.5 Life Circumstances 15.3 15.1 Renewed 15.2 Adjusted 157 I think that's one thing that I know I have to caution myself on . . . that's a real person out there and if they're really stuck in the sin of greed, then I've got to feel sorry for them . . . and pray that they . . . will come to their senses and see there's great things in life and making millions of dollars isn't one of them. To keep it from becoming a [long-term] fight. I think a couple of us have to remind ourselves . . . that they're not our enemy (zinttwo.doc, p. 1, li 35-41). Opposition leaders had to regain their perception of the Hotel as a member of the community, rather than as the enemy. Concern about the potential harm that might result from deep rifts forming between the Hotel, themselves, and other stakeholders in Mount Pleasant was a motivating factor for attempting to reconcile: what we wanted to do was . . . tell the Hotel that even though we disagreed with them on the beer and wine store thing, we recognize they are a major landowner, they're the only big hotel in Mount Pleasant and, we may disagree with them on the beer and wine store, but we have to work together (xintone.doc, p. 17, li 20-28). The rate at which recovering occurs is influenced by perceived life circumstances (Hypothesis 15.3). The life circumstances of opposition campaign leaders following the Referendum differed significantly — those who remained publicly active despite the lawsuit took a small amount of time to fully recover their civic-minded activities. These individuals made the transition to recovering, and subsequently to reactivating their involvement in other public policy issues, within a few months. In comparison, the opposition leader who disengaged due to the pressures of the lawsuit took over two years to recover: 158 I was almost tempted to phone you this morning and tell you not to come [to conduct the interview] . . . . I said this morning, I don't know if I should go through this . . . . [I had] to judge how much . . . . this is going to dredge up. But I decided to go ahead because I thought maybe it'd be cathartic. I don't know (yintone.doc, p. 10, li 40, li 56-58). Recovering is inversely related to the amount of vulnerability and isolation experienced during the Referendum (Hypothesis 15.4). For this participant, the residual fear and bitterness associated with the Referendum remained vivid and reduced the likelihood of making the transition to recovering, which in turn affected staying involved in civic activities: "I don't know. To say: T won't do this again.' I have done other . . . [work on public issues since the Referendum], but certainly not on that level" (yintone.doc, p. 10, li 41-42). When I asked this opposition leader to elaborate on her civic activities during the two years following the Referendum, she described a very subdued level of involvement. She no longer felt safe to take public, proactive stands on controversial issues. Although she continued to work on public issues, most of these actions took place behind the scenes. The likelihood of recovering is inversely related to the amount and type of previous experience citizens have with civic activities (Hypothesis 15.5). The opposition campaign leader with the least amount of civic experience believed that his negative Referendum experiences had been "worth it," he concluded: "in the end, despite this miserable process, we managed to . . . rise above it, after a lot of time and energy spent on this stuff (xintone.doc, p. 17, li 25-26). The negative effects of feeling vulnerable and isolated do not appear to be mitigated by previous positive experiences with civic activities. Feeling vulnerable and isolated are exacerbated by previous negative experiences with civic activities (Hypothesis 15.6). For example, the 159 opposition campaign leader who eventually disengaged from the Referendum process described a previous negative experience with a community-based organization in the following way: I should backtrack . . . [prior to becoming involved in the Referendum] I was on a board of directors for a non-profit society. . . . The executive director had been discovered to have committed fraud against our society. We came across this totally by accident. . . . She had befriended everyone on the board, all of their children. She had really become entrenched in our lives. We loved this woman and trusted her with our children. . . . So in that process we got involved with police, we got involved with lawyers. . . . My trust was so devastated by this situation because I really cared for her. . . . I had gone through a legal spiel already and my reaction to that was like post-traumatic shock . . . I was so blown away. . . . So I had come out of that [just prior to the Referendum] (yintone.doc, p. 4, li 40-52 and p. 5, li 1-6). Previous experience with civic activities accumulates to create a frame of reference for recovering (Hypothesis 15.7). Based on individual frames of reference, previous experiences influence the rate at which citizens recover (Hypothesis 15.8). For example, the two leaders who remained active in the opposition campaign described the transition through the recovering phase as a fairly fast process and described choosing to stay involved in Mount Pleasant's civic culture as an easy decision to make. 160 Transition from Recovering to Reactivating This section describes the concepts associated with making the transition from recovering to reactivating. Figure 26 illustrates the hypothesized relationships among the associated concepts. As was indicated in the previous section, recovering refers to the ability of citizens to recuperate from their negative experiences during a referendum in order to continue with civic-minded activities. Reactivating refers to the process of citizens again becoming involved in proactive participation in decision making. Citizens make the transition from recovering to reactivating in a variety of ways. For citizens who link recovering with their rationales for becoming involved in a referendum, the transition to reactivating happens quickly (Hypothesis 16.1). For these citizens, their daily lives are not altered significantly by a referendum. One opposition campaign leader described the recovering process as a transition back to "business as usual," as he stated: the major work is not . . . the beer and wine stores. The major work is literally being out there among the people. In helping them in their hurts, taking them food Figure 26, '': Transition to Reactivating Transition to Reactivating Frustration & Anxiety 16.3 16.4 Rationale for Becoming Involved Personal Struggle Sense of Community 16.1 Not Altered U6.2 Transforming Through Self-Discovery 161 as they need food, taking them furniture as they need furniture, loving them, counseling them (zintone.doc, p. 17, li 21-25). Making the transition from recovering to reactivating can also be a transforming experience for citizens if it includes a process of self-discovery (Hypothesis 16.2). Transforming refers to the process of discovering another way of living that continues to focus on civic activities such as participating in decision-making about public policy. In this Referendum, making the transition to reactivating resulted in dramatic lifestyle changes for one campaign leader. This transition marked the emergence of a new lifestyle that was more keenly focused on civic activism than prior to the Referendum. This transition was akin to a metamorphosis, as this individual emerged from the Referendum as a neighbourhood leader involved in organizing citizens and proactively contributing to civic culture: I am doing this Citizens' Handbook, do you know that? . . . The Citizens' Handbook is this . . . guide to community building in Vancouver . . . it's a guide to community organizing, and to community building, and it's got a whole section that reviews books, and it's got the names of all community organizations at the back and then it's got a section called "Who to Call at City Hall" which is all the phone numbers of everybody at City Hall you might want to call about everything under the sun (xintone.doc, p. 19-20, li 58-60, 1-7). Making the transition from recovering to reactivating may require a lengthy, personal struggle for some citizens (Hypothesis 16.3). Citizens who struggle through the transition from recovering to reactivating tend to oscillate between feeling a strong sense of community and feeling very anxious about becoming involved in other controversial public policy issues 162 (Hypothesis 16.4). Citizens who find it difficult to make the transition to reactivating feel frustrated about not acting on their perceived sense of community. I don't think referendums are empowering at all. It wasn't for me. I think maybe for the people who voted . . . I don't know. I don't think it was terribly empowering for me because my name became mud. I will never work at social services again because of this experience (yintone.doc, p. 10, li 5-8). As this opposition leader described her struggle to make the transition to reactivating, she talked about simultaneously fighting the urge to disengage and the urge to reactivate. As she drew our interview to a close, she described a recent event that illustrated the struggle to make the transition to reactivating: there is this major task force [on prostitution] being set up by the Vancouver Police and I had been invited to attend this meeting. . . . I got a call from a constable that I kind of know — he and I share tidbits of information off the record . . . he phoned me up to say: "Do you know anything about this task force?". . . because all of a sudden there's been a major change going on in the way policing is done in Vancouver and . . .who did I know in this neighbourhood that had so much pull that they could get the City and Chief of Police to agree this?". . . So last night I went to listen to what they're proposing and I was so angry when I left the meeting. It was the same kind of anger that I had over the Hotel. . . . There's always hot stuff happening on the East Side (yintone.doc, p. 10, li 48-52 and p. 11, li 1-11). At the time of writing this dissertation, over three years had passed since the Referendum. In the period that I spent analyzing and writing about these data, this opposition leader agreed to 163 engage in informal conversations with me. Based on these conversations, it has become apparent that this campaign leader has reactivated her involvement in other controversial issues in Mount Pleasant, including another public hearing about alcohol control, public hearings on prostitution, and a variety of school board issues. In addition to the struggles that some individuals may experience during the transition to reactivating, communities face a number of barriers to making the transition to reactivating. The following section describes a number of these barriers from the perspective of the opposition campaign leaders. Barriers to Making the Transition to Reactivating This section describes the barriers associated with making the transitions to reactivating. Figure 27 illustrates the hypothesized relationships among the associated concepts. The broad conventions that form the gestalt of our society creates a barrier to the process of reactivating civic involvement (Hypothesis 17.1). Related to this gestalt, the process of reactivating civic involvement is hampered by the public's prevailing passivity about the policy level decisions made by representational government (Hypothesis 17.2). Historically, Canadians have relied on representative government to take care of the public interest. Passivity applied particularly to federal and provincial politics, least to home and workplace. Its variability at the community or neighbourhood level reflects varying forms of parochialism and the "Not In My Backyard (NIMBY) Syndrome." Citizens tend to assume passive roles between elections, which may reflect a degree of apathy among citizens who want elected officials to assume responsibility for making decisions to protect the public interest. 164 Traditional mechanisms for promoting citizen participation in decision making, such as general elections, operate on the premise that representative government will make decisions that are in the best interest of the majority, while not jeopardizing the right of minorities. This Figure 27 Barriers to Reactivating Recovering fa Barriers Conventions Passivity Lack of Experience 17.3 Complexity Cynicism Desensitized 7.8 Transience 17.4 17.6 17.5 17.7 1 7 9 { Suppressed Civic-mindedness Power Void Reactivating Parochialism 17.13 17.12 Reactive Posture I Complaining '17.11 Uncaring Leaders Overwhelmed Frustration, 17.10 Marginalization 165 perception of representative governance as benevolent reflects the public's trust in government to protect their best interests. Citizen participation demands that citizens invest energy and resources in social action, while disengaging from civic responsibility, is perpetuated in part because it is comfortable, as the quote below illustrates: community organizing is tough, I mean it's tough. It's something that we're not used to doing. In Canada people have put most of their trust in government and in experts and they spend their time at home watching TV. They don't take part in community (xintone.doc, p. 20, li 9-11). Lack of experience in the decision-making process, except during general elections, may also be a barrier to reactivating (Hypothesis 17.3). This lack of experience reflects both the conventions of society and the resultant passive tendencies that permeate the Canadian culture. The rhetoric of participation is abundant; however, our system prevails upon citizens to operationalize the rhetoric by voting only every few years in general elections. Ironically, when citizens do have direct input in public policy decisions through vehicles like the referendum, unpleasant experiences can discourage vocal, counter-insurgent participation. Thus, our present system does not appear to facilitate reactivating civic involvement, rather it lulls citizens into complacency. Reactivating is further challenged when citizens perceive the problems facing today's society to be too complex and overwhelming (Hypothesis 17.4). Opposition campaign leaders believe that most citizens prefer to rely on their elected officials and appointed experts to make difficult decisions about these complex issues. As one opposition campaign leader put it, people tend to see the problem, recognize its vastness and complexity, and look away quickly before they are moved to doing anything about it: 166 people [become] moved to what I call, look-avoidance. They stopped hearing . . . it was just too awful . . . there'll be no future for our kids. . . . I think if you want to lead people to a new view of the world, what you need to do is be careful about the language you use and not paint a picture that is too dramatically different from the present state of affairs, otherwise, they'll stop hearing it (xinttwo.doc, p. 6, li 22-26). A general tendency for citizens to become desensitized or to ignore public policy issues is an important barrier to reactivating civic involvement (Hypothesis 17.5). Development of the "look-avoidance" response can be credited in part to the number of horrific stories people are subjected to each day in the media. Willful ignorance in this information age is disturbing, yet understandable. For example, opposition leaders surmised much of their neighbourhood was in a state of disarray, as the following quote illustrates: the people . . . are hurting . . . they're growing up in the broken homes and [we want to teach] them that that isn't the way of life that they have to continue in. Teaching them that there is a far better life. . . . A life that's got far more fun and enjoyment in it than going out and getting drunk or . . . dropping acid . . . they only know one way of life, and that's getting hurt and hurting others. And people say: "Well that's a dramatic way of presenting life and it's one-sided." But, on the East Side, here, that's the way it is (zintone.doc, p. 16, li 22-36). Citizens developing cynicism and frustration in the face of complex problems presents a further barrier to reactivating (Hypothesis 17.6). For example, opposition campaign leaders' experiences with bargaining and relinquishing reinforced their cynical perceptions about the 167 politics of citizen participation. They were left to wonder whose side their elected officials were really on — that of citizens or big business. Reactivating communities is affected negatively by transience (Hypothesis 17.7). The development of civic-minded behaviour is also perceived to be affected negatively by transience (Hypothesis 17.8). Civic-mindedness is the source of power for citizen participation; without civic-minded citizens, communities are void of power. The last several barriers produce a tendency for citizens to suppress their civic-mindedness (Hypothesis 17.9). When talking about barriers to reactivating, opposition campaign leaders were concerned that as lifestyles become more transient, the attachment citizens feel to their home will decrease: people move a lot. There are all sorts of reasons why communities are not nearly as close-knit as they used to be in the past. And I think the reason you get some sense of community in some of the small towns . . . is because people have been living there for a while. Mount Pleasant, when you talk about the kids in some of the schools, the average time is something like six months, in fact I think it's actually less than that. So they're in and out . . . the people turn over quickly (xintone.doc, p. 20, li 13-19). Opposition leaders thought that the high level of transience in their own neighbourhood facilitated its demise into more of a thoroughfare than a community. For example, one opposition leader worried that because they plan to move on to better neighbourhoods, some new Canadians living in Mount Pleasant tend to shy away from citizen participation: the ethnic families are here because they're poor . . . as soon as they can get on their feet, they're out of here . . . they'll stay here and they'll suffer through this, 168 but as soon as they've got a good stake — they're gone. I don't blame them (zinttwo.doc, p. 3, li 39-43). Some new Canadians arrive from countries where democratic tradition is virtually unknown or come from societies where, for generations, individuals who subscribe to democratic ideals have been persecuted (e.g., China). Thus, these citizens have little or no experience with participation, and particularly with controversial issues. What begins to emerge is a situation in which there is a gap in communicating about world views between some long-term neighbourhood residents and some new Canadians: "how [do] you do this inter-cultural communication?. . . nobody knows how you do that very well. In a country like Canada, which is becoming increasingly multi-cultural, it seems like something somebody should pay attention to" (xinttwo.doc, p. 9, li4-8). In addition, many citizens of Mount Pleasant are First Nations People who have been assimilated and ghettoized. With their traditional culture and support system stripped away from them, many of these citizens have been profoundly affected by poverty and racism. The severe power imbalances between a relatively weak, splintered community and a powerful opponent generally result in the weaker party losing to the more powerful agent's wishes. Barriers to reactivating civic involvement can result in a sense of frustration and helplessness associated with being disenfranchised from mainstream society, which tends to further marginalize less powerful communities (Hypothesis 17.10). In this way, the most vulnerable members of the Canadian public tend to remain inexperienced at dealing proactively with public policy issues. Feeling overwhelmed, combined with a sense that elected leaders may be uncaring, can lead to citizens engaging in self-defeating complaining (Hypothesis 17.11). Although opposition campaign leaders could empathize with the feeling of release that 169 accompanies complaining, they viewed it as problematic if it is the pinnacle of social action: "most people don't take part. In Canada, there's a tendency to leave everything up to government. . . . Then we complain and grumble that government doesn't do the job that it should" (xinttwo.doc, p. 8, li 34-36). These barriers contribute directly to citizens assuming a reactive, rather than a proactive, posture during public debates (Hypothesis 17.12). As illustrated in the following quote, the high level of frustration that often motivates citizens to take reactive stances during referendum campaigns tends to focus the debate on defending parochial interests rather than on broadly based negotiations (Hypothesis 17.13): no experience . . . that's where the community is really vulnerable. Because none of us have any experience, until we've done it once. All of us are completely green at it. . . . We don't know how to do it but we're going to do something about it. . . . [the situation has] just gotten so bad that we can't put up with it any longer. People . . . right now, they're sort of just lying down and playing dead — don't bother me anymore. Who am I to stand and speak and say anything?... It'll take the people to come to that point that they get so fed up . . . [that they say]: "Now, it's, hey, this is hurting me. This is hurting my family!" (zintone.doc, p. 4-5, li 14-16 and li 23-29). Reactivating Citizen Participation This section describes the barriers associated with reactivating. Figure 28 illustrates the hypothesized relationships among the associated concepts. Reactivating refers to the process of citizens again becoming involved in proactive participation in decision making. Reactivating 170 citizen participation depends on finding a balance among available resources (e.g., emotional energy, human resources), a stimulating and personally relevant issue, and participatory opportunities (Hypothesis 18.1). All of these depend largely on the socio-demographic circumstances of the individual (Hypothesis 18.2). Socio-demographic factors affect the potential to reactivate through their shaping of balancing resources, relevance of issue, and participatory opportunities. A disenfranchised community of alcoholics and drug addicts was not perceived to pose a formidable foe to the well-equipped Hotel, to members of the media, or to a group of elected officials, many of whom lived on the more affluent West Side of Vancouver. The demographics of Mount Pleasant, however, also include a relatively small number of affluent yuppies who had been displaced from the West Figure 28 : Reactivating Overcoming 18.1 Balancing Resources, Issues, Opportunities 18.2 Socio-demographics 18.3 Using Emotion Constructively r Reactivating Community Organizing 18.4 Redistribution of Power 171 Side of Vancouver. These so-called "displaced yuppies" were forced to move to Mount Pleasant because it is the only place in Vancouver where they can afford to buy real estate. These people plan to stay in Mount Pleasant, make it their home, and develop a strong sense of community. As one key informant observed: now . . . there's more roots and more concern about trying to improve [Mount Pleasant] . . . this group of fairly well educated [people] get saying, "Hey! We want to take back the streets! Because we're getting tired of getting pushed out!" (aintone.doc, p. 2, li 15-20) Many of these displaced yuppies bring with them a certain level of familiarity with citizen participation based on their general experiences with the major social movements of the 1960s and 1970s. Although the neighbourhood population is comprised primarily of people who live on or below the poverty line, a few of the more affluent citizens in Mount Pleasant became involved in the Referendum. Their relatively affluent lifestyles afforded them the resources (e.g., time, physical energy, safety) from which to reactivate citizen participation about public policy issues. The issue of alcohol control is a controversial, volatile issue, loaded with moralistic overtones about which citizens tend to have strong opinions. After reflecting on his first interview, one opposition leader asked to comment further on the role of emotion in debates about controversial issues: after reading the transcript I thought that the whole flavour of the piece was that if you'd simply turn everything over to citizens, at the neighbourhood level and left everything to them, everything would be OK. It would work the way it should . . . well, I didn't want to leave you with that impression. I think where citizens fall 172 down is when they react off the cuff or emotionally to difficult issues, without spending enough time to think through the consequences of taking the position they're taking (xinttwo.doc, p. 1, li 8-14). It was clear from all of the interviews that opposition campaign leaders did not believe that emotional reactions to controversial issues should be relied upon for decision making about public policy. They felt that there was a need to accommodate the role of emotion in debates over controversial public issues by first recognizing that it will have bearing on each individual's decision-making processes: the emotion's got to be there. You can't be cold, but I guess the old idea that emotion can't control you, you've got to control it. You've got to be able to think through [emotion] and act through it, rather than allowing it to lead you. I'm an emotional person — when I see hurt, I just want to cry and cry. That can either cripple us or keep us from doing what's right. Keep us from acting wisely. I know that can be a weakness on my side. I've got to watch myself in that area. But I'd never give up emotion. Without that, it would be pretty cold (zinttwo.doc, p. 2, li 15-20). To use emotional energy in a proactive way, citizens need a constructive vehicle or mechanism through which to reactivate (Hypothesis 18.3). Because citizens are often motivated by their passion for a public issue, they bring a great deal of emotional energy to the debates that surround that issue, as the following quote demonstrates: citizens sometimes err in that they get angry. They become emotional about an issue and they move directly to confrontation without considering that maybe if they controlled their anger or tried to control it, sat down with those who could 173 make the changes they saw were necessary, they might be able to reach a satisfactory solution without exhausting themselves in the battle. Because the history of confrontation in Vancouver is that citizens sometimes get worn right out. They get exhausted in the process, and jaded, and it doesn't do anybody any good (xinttwo.doc, p. 5, li 1-6). In addition to the high risk of becoming exhausted and jaded, the emotional citizen may be labeled as a "crank" or "zealot" and be dismissed from serious deliberations. This presents a conundrum for activating and reactivating citizen participation. As opposition campaign leaders noted, controversial public issues that evoke emotional responses tend to garner more citizen participation than those issues for which citizens feel no passion: citizens often get together over an emotional issue. You can see why they're inclined to confrontation, if that's the reason they get together. They're mad, they're emotional, they're angry! Community organizers, when they want to discover what people will spend time working on, they will try to pinpoint . . . where most of the emotional energy lies, but that automatically leads you to confrontation. . . . [so] we're in a bit of a difficulty here, because if there's no emotional energy, then people don't do anything (xinttwo.doc, p. 5, li 31-35). Reactivating through the process of community organizing is one way to redistribute power among stakeholders in public policy (Hypothesis 18.4). Although most citizen groups are not particularly wealthy, they do have access to resources in the form of volunteers. As the following quote illustrates, opposition campaign leaders found that the only way to compensate for a lack of financial resources is to involve a variety of citizens over the long-term: 174 and I think [involving large numbers of people is] the only way to fight a big business proposal or a big money proposal [especially] where money is used . . . to influence people. I don't think . . . community [could use money to influence people]. I don't think there's the dollars (zinttwo.doc, p. 2, li 24-29). Opposition leaders knew that some citizens were unaware of the potential power they could generate through community organizing, but who did not feel confident enough to become involved in this kind of activity: there might be a bit more expertise in some communities. [Having] more expertise that we could tap into [would] make the job a little bit easier. . . . The old idea of knocking on doors or whatever. It makes the job tough, but then . . . the people see first hand what should be done . . . rather than reading about it in the newspaper (zinttwo.doc, p. 2, li 29-36). Summary of Experiencing a Referendum Based on my interviews with opposition campaign leaders, participating in a referendum does not appear to result in short-term gains with regard to citizen participation. After reviewing the experiences of opposition leaders, it could be argued that the referendum, as it has been employed, is not a particularly empowering mechanism. It could also be concluded that the referendum is not a particularly participatory device, if participation is measured in terms other than voting. In general, because mechanisms, like the referendum, tend to exclude negotiated settlements, they also tend to inhibit reactivating citizen participation in the short-term. Opposition campaign leaders thought that one of the most negative aspects of the Referendum was that the process excluded the possibility of coming to a negotiated settlement. 175 The Referendum could have only one winner — the position that garnered the most votes. In this way, referendums tend to encourage polarization and resentment among stakeholders, rather than negotiation and compromise. For example, the acrimony and conflict that occurred during the Referendum, particularly with regard to the lawsuit, is thought to have caused many citizens to disengage from the process. This confrontational milieu ultimately resulted in a situation where opposition leaders felt the need to forgive the people associated with the Hotel in order to continue living and working together in the same neighbourhood after the vote: it's easy to get angry against people. It's harder to have the compassion for them especially when they're the hurter. That's a good caution for anybody going into using a referendum to stand up for what's right. You [have to] go into it with a heart of forgiveness for the one who's trying to hurt the community (zinttwo.doc, p. 2, li 6-8). Conducting emotional debates about complex and controversial issues within the constraints of a referendum tends to preempt genuine efforts at collaborative problem solving. In order for citizens to participate in referendums, they must have a high tolerance for confrontation and access to sufficient resources. Opposition leaders sensed a culture of confrontation developing within their city: the key to making [our city] work is a better working relationship with citizens and not this constant confrontation that occurs. You can't blame just citizens for it and you can't just blame city workers — both sides have developed a culture of confrontation. Neither side are very good at collaborative problem solving (xinttwo.doc, p. 5, li 27-30). 176 The fact that confrontation is projected to become a dominant means of citizen participation is not surprising. The historical context of trying to make positive changes in North American society is filled with accounts of successful confrontation. The most celebrated social movements in this century — the Organized Labour Movement, the Civil Rights Movement, the Anti-Vietnam War Movement, and the Women's Movement — were all forced to resort to confrontation to achieve some of their goals. In addition, confrontation between citizens and "the system" generally receives more substantial media coverage than cooperative, problem-solving activities. Although most people are vaguely aware of the hundreds of negotiated processes constantly taking place in legislatures, bureaucracies, and private businesses, the media reports tend to highlight confrontations rather than quiet collaboration. The mass media coverage tends to create the perception that our existing ways of making decisions more often result in confrontational situations, rather than creative problem solving. For example, protesters involved in demonstrations make the evening news, while people who work cooperatively toil in anonymity. The "winner-takes-all" approach to decision making in referendums tends to exacerbate the potential for confrontation, while media coverage makes confrontation appear to be the most successful and legitimate approach. 177 CHAPTER 7: CULTIVATING CONTEXT SHIFT The purpose of this chapter is to present the theme of cultivating context shift. As described in Chapter 3, themes tend to emerge as abstract motifs that weave a common thread throughout findings (Morse & Field, 1995; Grams, 1996). The themes emerged through the process of coding, organizing, and writing about the findings. As the analysis progressed, a theme emerged about citizens' individual and collective capacity to shift the traditions of democracy, the sociopolitical milieu, and the civic culture. The idea of cultivating context shift is repeated, with some minor variation, throughout the framework. The process of cultivating context shift occurs when citizens actively participate in decision making. The nature of the shift depends on whether, and how, citizens apply lessons learned from previous experiences. Cultivating positive context shift tends to influence and reform existing contexts in a manner that increases citizens' capacity for participation in decision making; cultivating negative context shift has the opposite effect. For the purpose of discussing the theme, I use the term cultivating context shift to refer to a positive context shift, unless otherwise stated. Cultivating context shift is the process of modifying existing contexts in order to promote the capacity of citizens and communities to participate in decision making. This process contributes to the growth of civic-minded behaviour, which tends to foster caring, socially responsible, and active citizens who work to promote and protect the public good. Cultivating context shift relies on citizens applying lessons learned through their referendum experiences to other situations where citizen participation is needed. 178 Lessons learned by experiencing a referendum may facilitate increases in perceived individual and community empowerment, which can facilitate being proactive about public policy issues in the future. For example, opposition campaign leaders described learning to be more careful when making decisions to become involved as a campaign leader. In hindsight, one opposition leader presented the following caution: "I think I would chose very carefully who I affiliated with, if I were to do something like this again. I would be very careful to ask the right questions and make things [like my role] very clear" (yintone.doc, p. 10, li 49-51). Cultivating context shift may result in stakeholders, other than citizens, recognizing a shift in the status quo. The two key informants had different thoughts about how the Referendum experience had affected Mount Pleasant, as the following quotes illustrate: I guess the one thing that's outstanding in my mind, is the process itself. Is it working? And I guess it depends on what it is the process was designed to do. The process was designed to ensure that the community had the opportunity for input into the decision-making process, and that it was heard. From that point of view, [I think] the process is working. I think that if we did not have this process in place, there'd be a beer and wine store at the [Hotel]. In the same way as the [Hotel] was able to convince City Council to allow the application to be considered again, and to go to referendum, I think [the Hotel] could've convinced City Council that is was an OK decision to put [the new store] there. But it was the referendum that really decided "no" (bintone.doc, p. 9, li 38-42). [in Mount Pleasant] now, there's more roots and more concern about trying to improve it. So this group of fairly well-educated, white collar workers. . . . And they organize really well. And they establish a lot of contacts with the City, 179 the City Council and inner-city workers and stuff like that. And with the police. So they have a direct line [to people with power]. If they have a complaint about something, they can go to me [for example]. So as a result, when issues came up, not just the application for the beer and wine store, but other issues that citizens were concerned about . . . it could be a pool hall, it could be gang activity or whatever, anything to do with that they felt might be detrimental to the community. . . they would jump on right away. And they would get more of a reaction because they would find someone in power where the buck would stop (aintone.doc, p. 2, li 16-32). These two different standpoints may influence the informants perceptions about the process of cultivating context shift. From one key informant's perspective, managing the referendum device was part of his responsibility; thus, to him it was paramount in shaping his perceptions. This informant showed an earnest belief in the referendum device as a means to facilitate community involvement. For example, the following quote is typical of how he described it: we were criticized for a number of years, that the referendum process [in Vancouver] was not winnable. That we had set up such a blockade that there would be not be any new liquor licenses approved in Vancouver. And for a while I was beginning to think that maybe that was true . . . [but then] there were several applications that were approved for good reason, like the community was in support of it, and there was not just reason to say no. . . . So it's not the referendum that's making the decision, it's not that you can't win a referendum. It 180 is that the referendum is expressing accurately the view of the community (bintone.doc, p. 9, li 43-49). When I asked this key informant to talk more specifically about his experience of the Referendum in relation to its influence on the community of Mount Pleasant, he stated: [I would give my] impressions . . . but, my job doesn't take me into any area of the City more so than any other, so I can't claim any direct knowledge of Mount Pleasant.... I have no perceptions on what has changed . . . well, maybe I do. . . . . I think Mount Pleasant is improving. . . . They have had some very serious problems in the past, which have been identified and discussed through the media, as well as matters appearing before City Council. Prostitution, drinking, drugs. . . . There's not a lot more I can say in terms of the change down there. I think it is a community that is coming together, I think in a positive way. I think there are positive changes. That's my perception (bintone.doc, p.7, li 46-52 and p. 8, li 1-6). In contrast, the other key informant expressed a sense of empathy toward the citizens of Mount Pleasant. He had worked in the neighbourhood for the majority of his career and lived in a nearby area of town. As the following quote illustrates, this individual thought the neighbourhood reacted to genuine problems during the Referendum: I can really sympathize with the [opposition campaign leaders] . . . . And one of the unusual things about me is that I live in [the area]. And I'm a homeowner in [the area], on the East Side. Not right in Mount Pleasant, but I don't want it to be pushed either . . . so I could really relate fairly well to this group. And, of course, I didn't want their problems moving into my neighbourhood either. By the same token, I could really sympathize with them because you purchase a house, you're 181 in there for the long-term . . . you want a neighbourhood where you can be safe and enjoy it (aintone.doc, p. 2, li 39-48). The experiences of opposition campaign leaders suggests that cultivating context shift may occur in response to the accumulated experience gained through a series of one-issue campaigns, although it is difficult to claim that experiencing a referendum campaign about the beer and wine store issue inspired the entire neighbourhood to actively participate. In fact, the experiences of the opposition campaign leaders suggest quite the opposite — that the beer and wine store referendum made many citizens reticent in the short-term to reactivate with regard to other controversial issues. However, this case supports the assertion that, in the long-term, opposition leaders' experiences with the campaign cultivated an incremental context shift. Although there continues to be competing interests among citizens about how to proceed with making social change, opposition leaders expressed satisfaction that citizen participation had become part of the neighbourhood dynamic, as one leader said: "whereas the neighbourhood didn't want anything too much to do with being politically active [immediately following the Referendum], it can't help itself now. Everybody kind of got on the bandwagon around a couple of other issues" (yintone.doc, p.9, li 11-13). It appears that only a small number of citizens need to be involved as leaders during referendums to achieve at least some degree of positive context shift. The experiences of opposition campaign leaders suggest, however, that the level of engagement in the decision-making process must be very high to achieve context shift. To attain and maintain a high degree of participation, these citizens must be civic-minded, be resilient to criticism, and have a high tolerance for confrontation. 182 P A R T C : I M P L I C A T I O N S The purpose of this study is to generate hypotheses about what citizens experience when they participate as campaign leaders in a controversial, health-related referendum. To do this, in-depth interviews were conducted with key informants and leaders of a campaign against an application to build a new beer and wine store. These data were used to generate hypotheses for further research in other settings. Qualitative methods allow the development of a composite picture of opposition campaign leaders' experiences, and their words are used to "ground" this framework in their experiences. Opposition campaign leaders described their experiences in the Referendum, and it is through a systematic analysis of their stories that I am able to present the following implications. Chapter 8 presents a guide to further research and outlines the implications that the findings have for: the literature regarding citizen participation in decision making, the incorporation of citizen participation in decision making in the practice of health promotion, and changes in the process of making healthful public policy. 183 CHAPTER 8: IMPLICATIONS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH, THE LITERATURE, PRACTICE, AND POLICY Implications for Further Research During data analysis, a number of hypotheses emerged relating to becoming involved, being involved, and remaining involved in citizen participation. These hypothetical statements need to be operationalized and tested for their generalizability to other scenarios. Because situations and people vary across contexts, findings generated in one case must be generalized with caution. It is, however, worthwhile to produce hypotheses based on this one case in order to map a process of citizen participation in a particular type of referendum. In this instance, the referendum campaign was based on residents of a neighbourhood perceiving commercial interests as threatening their quality of life. Appendix E presents the hypotheses that were developed through the research described in Chapters 4 to 6, and is organized according to the stages of the conceptual framework. These hypotheses are intended to guide further research; therefore, the major findings are followed by suggestions for additional analysis. Guide for Further Research This section provides a guide for further research and highlights the unique and pivotal role that selected hypotheses had in the development of my research agenda regarding a new model of citizen participation. My interests influenced my decision to emphasize the following aspects of the conceptual model that emerged during this study: participating in a referendum campaign, anticipating, bargaining, concretizing, disengaging, barriers to making the transition to reactivating, and reactivating. 184 Participating in a Referendum Campaign Further research is needed to determine what conditions are necessary for citizens to develop a strong sense of civic culture. Research would address how democratic traditions, the changing sociopolitical milieu, and civic culture coexist and under what conditions they combine to optimize citizen participation. The findings of my study illustrate that there are citizens who wish to fulfill a role beyond that of a voter in general elections. More research is needed to determine how a representative democracy can best be harmonized with the expanded roles that citizens envision. The first step would involve exploratory interviews with a diverse sample of community leaders to assess and expand current understanding of what constitutes civic culture. Subsequently, quasi-experiments could compare indicators of civic culture across regions to determine differences and similarities. Longitudinal exploration of the perceived roles of a cohort of citizens could be compared over time with changes in the status of representative democracy. The fit between citizens' perceived roles and the status of representative democracy could then be compared at specified intervals to determine the nature of the relationship. Additional research is needed to determine the fit between citizens' perceived roles and existing mechanisms for citizen participation, such as referendums. A set of guidelines that can be used to find the best fit between the existing tools (or modified versions thereof) and different decision-making tasks needs to be developed, as do alternatives to existing mechanisms. The capacity of tools such as referendums, public consultations, and town-hall meetings to generate empowering conditions could be measured and compared through operational definitions and a systematic scoring system, generating a process of matching tools with decision-making tasks. Finally, more analyses should be performed to determine whether and how citizens progress through the various stages proposed in the conceptual model. Included in such a study 185 should be the role of contextual factors, including barriers, on the rate at which citizens progress through various stages of the hypothesized process. Of particular note in this study is the bruising confrontational experiences of the opposition campaign leaders in challenging commercial interests. Would lay leaders face similar consequences in challenging the interests of health professionals? Would the contextual factors of alcohol sales produce a different type of confrontation and acrimony in a neighbourhood where commercial zoning is more segregated from residential areas? Anticipating The findings suggest that citizens emerge from the activating phase with a set of expectations about the referendum process. A comparison of expectations across a diverse cross-section of campaign leaders, ascertaining whether and how expectations differ by context, would be a useful investigation. The findings further suggest that expectations about the referendum process are closely linked to attitudes about the democratic process. An analysis of the attitudes held by the population regarding the democratic process, by means of a national opinion poll to compare public attitudes about the democratic process with attitudes about the referendum process, could have implications for decision making on a variety of issues. For example, federal and provincial governments could conduct non-partisan opinion polls to determine public attitudes about the role of direct and representative democracy in Canada. Understanding public attitudes about these two varieties of democratic theory could help governments better understand the readiness of the public to tackle another referendum on the issue of national unity or a provincial referendum on sovereignty association. 186 Bargaining Further examination of this concept would be useful to identify how bargaining affects the capacity of citizens, bureaucrats, and elected officials to act on participatory approaches to governance. Exploration of this area could determine whether bargaining is perceived in a primarily negative manner, or if this negativity was unique to this Referendum or to referendums involving commercial interests. Survey data from various members of the groups involved in a referendum could be used to compare attitudes about participatory approaches. Semi-structured interviews with selected representatives from each group could then be conducted to determine the perceived impact of bargaining on citizen participation in decision making. The relationships among co-opting, coercing, and feeling vulnerable and isolated requires more exploration to confirm the findings, which suggest that a mutually reinforcing relationship exists among these concepts. In particular, more research is needed to determine the potential impact of co-opting and coercing on the development of a ground-swell of citizen participation. Research within the policy implementation domain may establish the influence of the media, political connections, and power-relationships in making and implementing decisions about public policy. This line of research is central to the future of advocacy and policy development for health promotion. The mutually reinforcing relationship between feeling vulnerable and feeling isolated in my findings may not be generalizable to other settings. Feeling vulnerable and isolated are thought to have implications beyond the individual level; the extent to which this affects the capacity of communities to activate with regard to public issues remains unexplored. The concept of feeling vulnerable and isolated also holds potential for further investigation about whether citizens, who participate in the referendum process, remain involved or disengage after 187 experiencing these feelings. It would be beneficial to identify characteristics typical of those individuals who successfully make the transition to relinquishing in order to compare them with individuals who disengage at this point in the process. A thematic analysis of differences between the two groups could aid in the establishment of a program to help "disengagers" cope with the referendum process, and facilitate their transition to relinquishing. Concretizing The findings in this study indicate a strong relationship between concretizing issues and the development of convictions about issues and people based on relatively little information. Assessment of the quality of debates and the factors that influence the formation of public opinion about complex and controversial issues during referendums would be beneficial. In this case, the campaign does not appear to have resulted in rational and logical negotiations between opposition campaign leaders and the Hotel. Further research could determine whether public opinion about controversial issues, such as alcohol control, tend to reflect value judgments rather than evidence-based decision making, or some combination of values and evidence. Through retrospective content analyses of archival materials (e.g., opinion polls, campaign materials used during referendums, and media coverage of controversial referendums), researchers may be able to determine the degree of "fit" between the referendum device and its capacity to generate good quality public discussion. Additional research could clarify whether concretizing the issue affects the process of developing a ground-swell of support. Study findings suggest that presenting policy issues as either/or choices (e.g., either implement policy to limit alcohol availability to protect health or allow for increased alcohol availability and risk compromised health) may force citizens to 188 become knowledgeable, even somewhat expert, on whether and how specific policies affect health. This could contribute to the public relying on a few citizens to act as content experts, thereby de-emphasizing the role that all citizens could have in decision making. Developing a better understanding of the influence that concretizing has on public debate is important to media advocacy. Disengaging A paradox that emerged from these findings warrants further study. It appears that for some citizens, particularly those who do not take on campaign leadership roles, the process of disengaging is easily achieved at any point within the proposed model. Conversely, for prominent campaign leaders, the referendum process became an integral part of their lives, making it nearly impossible to disengage. The process of disengaging differs among citizens depending upon how heavily involved they become in campaigns. At which point in the campaign process are citizens most vulnerable to disengaging? Further assessment of the costs of disengaging should focus on the resources invested in a campaign at a particular point in time; this could clarify how it affects leadership structures during campaigns. In addition, it is worth addressing how a few people can achieve incremental context shifts by staying involved. Finally, more work is required to discover what happens to those people who disengage. Do the citizens learn from the successful experiences of others or do they stop contributing to public issues permanently? There are a number of methodological problems involved in this kind of research; however, encouraging a few citizens to tell their stories may result in a better understanding of the potential impact of negative experiences on community participation in 189 decision making. This study essentially defined as leaders only those people who remained engaged throughout the bulk of the referendum process. Pursuing the experiences of those who disengage from the process provides balance for those voices traditionally accessible and available for this kind of research. Barriers to Making the Transition to Reactivating Researchers should continue to document citizens attitudes about participating in decision making by conducting opinion polls, focus groups, and media analysis. These findings should be compared with census information regarding length of residence and other socio-demographic data. Researchers should also compare public opinion about specific issues with information about voting patterns during general elections to determine if perceived barriers have similar influence on voting patterns during these democratic exercises. Geographical relationships among alcohol abuse and other community health problems and risk factors in the environment that are associated with these problems warrant study.43 Harding and Wittman (1995) used geographic information systems (GIS) to assess the relationship between alcohol outlet density and alcohol and other drug problems in Vallejo, California. Using available epidemiological and ecological information, Harding and Wittman (1995) analyzed the nature and extent of socio-physical and temporal relationships among variables such as geographic density of outlets and spacing of outlets according to license types.44 Research to determine the capacity that exists within communities to use existing data 43Partial credit for this idea should be attributed jointly to one of the opposition campaign leaders whom I interviewed and to B. Hudgins (Hudgtec Ltd., Halifax, Nova Scotia). 44GIS has been applied in the context of other community health issues, including urban infant mortality rates (Rushton, Krishnamurti, Krishnamurthy & Song, 1995), homelessness (Lee & Culhane, 1995), and illicit drug arrests (Barndt & Craig, 1994). 190 (e.g., data from the census, public health departments, and social planning agencies) would inform the process of incorporating citizen participation in various aspects of decision making about a wide variety of public policy issues. Reactivating Citizen Participation To address the implications for further research with regard to the process of reactivating, I recommend that a prospective case study about citizen participation be conducted in Mount Pleasant. The purpose of this study would be to test some of the hypotheses listed above and to refine the conceptual model that emerged from this study. There is some evidence to suggest that the socio-demographics of Mount Pleasant are changing. The proposed study could focus on documenting the hypothesized influence of these changes on community capacity to take social action to promote and protect community health. Contributions to Knowledge About Citizen Participation The purpose of this section is to describe how the findings of this study support, add to, and refute the existing knowledge base regarding citizen participation. Support of Existing Literature Many of the empirical reports in the literature suggest referendums are rarely vehicles for radical change (Butler & Ranney, 1994; Bonham, 1993; Emerson & Clark, 1993; Jones, Mormann & Durtsche, 1989; Isman, 1983). Conducting referendums on whether new projects should be initiated in a community (e.g., building a new beer and wine store, introducing fluoride to the public water system, or building a public housing complex) tends to result in the majority 191 of voters supporting the status quo. The literature points out, as did one key informant in this study, that the regulations governing many referendums appear to be slanted in favour of maintaining the status quo. In Vancouver, for example, an initiative must receive 60 percent of votes in order to be approved by City Council. The results of the referendum on the proposed beer and wine store in Mount Pleasant correspond with trends reported in the literature. The referendum represents a successful application of the maxim "confront or concede" (Alinsky, 1972). Within the literature regarding development of community-based power, this maxim has emerged as an important influence on the practice of community organizing. Because the referendum process, as it has been applied, appears to obstruct collaborative problem solving and cooperation among stakeholders, confrontation tends to become the dominant means of achieving success. Like the reports in the literature regarding community organizing efforts in American cities around issues of employment, crime prevention, and community economic development, confrontation seems to be an effective tool of citizen participation. The concept of confront or concede was operationalized within this Referendum when opposition campaign leaders became involved. As soon as a campaign was mounted by citizens who opposed the Hotel's proposal, the collective decision was made in effect to fight the proposal or put up with the perceived negative consequences — in other words to confront or to concede. Recent reports in the literature regarding ecological approaches to health promotion have emphasized the important influence of environment on health and health-related behaviours. My findings support the idea that the environment is a critical factor influencing citizen participation. As the findings demonstrate, the environment may be influenced by democratic traditions, the sociopolitical milieu, civic culture, or any combination of the three. The findings support previous reports in the literature that describe an ecological approach as a means of transcending 192 a "victim blaming" or individualistic approach to health promotion (Green, Richard & Potvin, 1996; Richard et al., 1996). The findings of this study support the idea that it is important to understand the influence that context has on citizen participation and, hence, on community health. Hahn and Kamieniecki (1987) report on what appears to be a paradox associated with the use of referendums in issues with moral overtones. They assert that "not only the content of moral issues, but also . . . the types of regulation that they imply and . . . their impact on the individual or the community" (p. 97) reflect the desire of the upper class "to control the behaviour or activities of others, at least at public events, rather than by an altruistic or self-sacrificing vision of the 'public interest'" (p. 108). My findings about the concept of structuring roles also reflect this conundrum: How does morality influence citizen participation in decision making? Although opposition campaign leaders did not describe themselves as part of the "ruling elite," they tended to view the Referendum as an opportunity for citizens to force elected officials to live up to their obligation to protect the public good. My findings also support Jacobs' (1992-3) reports, which noted that many successful citizen action groups have effected change in ad hoc ways. The findings of my study, like Jacobs' findings, show that citizens are capable of social action without formal training in community organizing and without knowledge of the theoretical basis for such actions. Findings similar to those of my study regarding the process of structuring and restructuring roles have been reported in the literature. Maton and Salem (1995) describe opportunity role structure as the availability and configuration of roles with a setting that provides meaningful opportunities for individuals to develop, grow, and participate (Maton & Salem, 1995). They assert that meaningful role opportunities contribute to empowerment by 193 helping people achieve primary personal goals in an active, participatory, skill-building fashion. The findings of my study also suggest that perceived roles influence citizens' abilities to recognize and to capitalize on opportunities to participate. In addition, Maton and Salem (1995) note that in recipient roles, individuals develop instrumental and psychological competencies, and in provider roles self-efficacy is enhanced through skill utilization, helping others, and contributing to goal setting (see also Rappaport, 1981). The findings of my study suggest that structuring roles is influenced by interacting with other people and with the context. Structuring roles allows citizens to match their roles with opportunities to participate as presented during a referendum. The perceived ability of opposition campaign leaders to structure and restructure roles suggests that citizens can shift between provider and recipient roles, depending on context-based feedback. My research concurs with the findings of Saegert and Winkel (1996) regarding the positive and negative influences of changes in the distribution of power within communities. Redistribution of power results in individual empowerment, but can also generate tensions that may erode the collective sense of community. During the most confrontational moments of the Referendum, the feelings of isolation and vulnerability experienced by the opposition campaign leaders were exacerbated by the sense that their network of support within the community had evaporated. Campaign leaders expressed a degree of understanding towards the people who had abandoned the cause. Disagreements emerged between campaign leaders, however, about how to proceed with the campaign after the lawsuit was launched. The shifting power structure among the three leaders generated tensions that negatively affected the cohesion of the campaign. The evidence in this study seems to support Long's (1986) assertion that the neighbourhood has become a more effective political unit than the city. Although the literature 194 on social capital (Putnam, 1995) tends to emphasize its depletion in North America, evidence from my study may support the proposition that the perceived depletion of social capital may be related to the unit of analysis. It could be hypothesized that the more proximate the unit of analysis (e.g., neighbourhood, worksite, or school versus city, province, or country), the more likely citizens are to perceive a strong sense of community, and thus to participate in social action. In addition to corroborating previous research, this study, even with its limited scope, offers some insights into observations from previous studies. My findings add to those of Zimmerman (1989) regarding the relationship between political efficacy and citizen participation, despite significant differences between the intent and method of the two studies. My work provides a partial response to Zimmerman's (1989) call for further research to explore why citizens initiate particular types of response actions. My findings around the processes of overcoming barriers, concretizing and elevating issues, and disengaging add to our understanding of why and how communities take action. Zimmerman (1989) also proposes a categorization of citizens based on a four-quadrant typology based on responses to a political efficacy scale assessed during his study. Individuals with high scores in both internal and external measures of political efficacy subscales tend to act within the existing political system because they believe the system is responsive to their input (Zimmerman, 1989). These individuals are characterized as elected officials. Those who score high on the internal political efficacy subscale but lower on the external subscale tend to work outside the traditional system for social change and are characterized as unconventional activists (Zimmerman, 1989). Individuals who score high on external political efficacy, but score lower on the internal subscale, may lack confidence in their abilities to affect social change, but act if 195 asked because they believe that the system will be responsive (Zimmerman, 1989). These individuals are characterized as followers. People who score low on both subscales are characterized as being alienated and uninvolved (Zimmerman, 1989). The findings of my study suggest that citizens may migrate from quadrant to quadrant depending on the demands of the referendum process and their ability to cope with those demands. At one stage, citizens may be characterized as unconventional activists, but subsequently become alienated and uninvolved as a result of disengaging. The findings add to O'Neill's (1992) conclusions about the use of disempowering vehicles of citizen participation. Findings associated with the concept of disengaging help us better understand the reasons why citizens may not want to confront those individuals or agencies that are perceived to be more powerful. Disengaging seems to result primarily from an inability to cope with the inherently adversarial nature of referendums. Although opposition campaign leaders involved in the Referendum eventually recovered from their negative experiences, they expressed strong reservations about becoming involved in another. Thus, the findings suggest participation on its own may not be sufficient to empower citizens. Participation under empowering conditions and through empowering mechanisms may be better suited to communities gaining control over their own decision making. The findings regarding the concept of civic-mindedness add to the theoretical literature on sense of community. Davidson and Cotter (1993) assert that citizens' support for improving local schools demonstrated that intention to vote in a referendum on school taxes is significantly related to sense of community. The findings of my study extend the literature on sense of community by suggesting a sequence leading from sense of community to civic-mindedness and, ultimately to fulfilling leadership roles within referendums. As described by Davidson and Cotter 196 (1989), psychological sense of community refers to the strong attachment that individuals experience toward others based on factors such as where they live, work, and go to school, or which groups they are affiliated with (e.g. social, political, religious, or cultural). Davidson and Cotter (1989) found that psychological sense of community relates to political participation, as measured in five forms: voting, campaigning, contacting political officials, working on public problems, and talking about politics (Davidson & Cotter, 1989). While a referendum on school taxes may be different from a referendum on alcohol control, it appears that leadership may emerge from civic-mindedness and psychological sense of community. Challenges to Existing Literature With respect to campaigning, Davidson and Cotter (1989) found that people who vote regularly, who contact government officials about social issues, and who work on community problems, tend not to participate in campaigns. Because campaigning entails partisanship, conflict, and adherence to extreme positions in sided issues, regular voters tend to avoid participating in this manner (Davidson & Cotter, 1989). My research indicates that sometimes citizens feel they must participate through whatever means are available. It appears that this conflicts with Davidson and Cotter's (1989) assertion that campaigners have underlying personal orientations that differ from those of regular voters. My findings point out that whether or not citizens participate as campaigners may have more to do with context and opportunity than with underlying personality traits. The findings of this study also appear to add to the literature describing a paradoxical relationship between demands for increased opportunities for citizen participation and the 197 continued desire for representative governments to govern. According to this literature, many citizens want it both ways—they want a system of governance that facilitates: stability, which allows changes when it is needed, and majority rule that preserves the minority rights and ensures peaceful acquiescence by the minority in public decisions. . . . laws that, by giving every group something but never everything it wants, keep all groups convinced that they have a stake in maintaining the system (Butler & Ranney, 1994, p. 21). Opposition campaign leaders expressed strong opinions that the public should be consulted about public policy issues, yet they expressed equally strong opinions that elected officials should not abdicate their governance role when controversial decisions are necessary. Although the findings of this study do not clarify which public policy issues warrant public consultation, they do inform the use of the referendum as a tool to facilitate such consultation. The Referendum was perceived by the campaign leaders to be a reactive and divisive mechanism, rather than a proactive and creative problem-solving tool. Although other writers in Canada predict a trend toward increased use of referendums (Marquis, 1993; Boyer, 1992), my findings question the basis of such a prediction. Butler and Ranney (1994) assert that "there is no sign of addictive tendency" with regard to holding frequent referendums within most Western democracies. When considering the unsavory nature of opposition campaign leaders' experiences during the Referendum, it is not difficult to understand why this might be so. Therefore, the findings of this study call into question the theoretical basis for the predicted increasing trend towards use of referendums and pose the question: Is it more referendums, or is it more participation through more sophisticated vehicles of participatory democracy that citizens truly desire? 198 This is an important contribution to knowledge regarding citizen participation because it asks researchers to consider an alternative to the traditional response to citizens' demands regarding participation. In general, we tend to look to the literature for examples of where opportunities for citizen participation have been maximized, concentrating on increasing the frequency with which these opportunities are provided to citizens. My study adds to our knowledge about citizen participation by emphasizing the idea that there is a need to consider the qualities of the vehicles through which we generally promote citizen participation. As my findings suggest, the vehicle through which citizen participation is channeled may significantly influence the experience, and thus the capacity, of citizens to become involved in decision making about public policy issues. Although there is a need for further research in this area, I think the literature will begin to increasingly reflect the findings of this study that suggest the qualities of a vehicle like the referendum have significant influence on the type of citizens who become involved and the frequency with which they participate. 199 Implications for Health Promotion Practice The purpose of this section is to describe how the findings of this study inform health promotion practice. Support for Current Practice The findings of this study suggest it is important for health promotion practitioners to continue efforts to understand the factors that motivate citizen participation in social action. Health promotion practitioners have long-standing traditions with regard to citizen participation and issue relevance. The findings of this study illustrate that citizens may be more likely to act to promote health in response to concerns about specific quality-of-life issues, rather than pursuing health as an end unto itself (Green & Kreuter, 1990; Labonte, 1994; Green, 1996; Wallack & Dorfman, 1996). In this case, opposition leaders were motivated to become involved in the Referendum through a variety of considerations, including concerns about safety, community health, and social life in their neighbourhood. For practitioners to function in a capable manner, they must have a good understanding of the considerations that prompt citizens to become involved in social action like referendums. Understanding these considerations does not mean passing judgment on individual motives, since clearly, motivations may be case-specific. However, identifying motivations of key stakeholders may influence the relationships that develop among practitioners and stakeholders subsequent to becoming involved. Understanding the bases for these relationships influences inter-stakeholder trust, a commodity that cannot be overemphasized in terms of its importance to community organizing efforts. 200 Expand Current Practice Based on my analysis of the findings of this study, I suggest that the role of health promotion practitioners be expanded to include the development of a more informed electorate. Public health education, which is designed to build a more informed electorate, should also prepare citizens to recognize the contextual factors affecting their participation. Citizens who recognize the influence of context on their own participation may be more likely to react to their environment in a proactive manner, rather than in an unprepared or defensive manner. The implementation of this recommendation, however, may require practitioners to overcome substantial barriers. The nature of the citizen participation message may be perceived as threatening to governments and quasi-government agencies, since they tend to control the channels through which public health education messages are traditionally disseminated.45 Although some agencies are comfortable promoting the rhetoric of citizen participation, the findings of my study imply that active citizen participation may not always be welcomed, especially if controversial problems are subsequently unearthed. In addition, government and quasi-government agencies also tend to oversee budgets for many health promotion programs and policy initiatives. Facilitating social action to change the status quo may provoke anxiety among those practitioners who depend on these agencies for funding. O'Neill (1989) describes the ethical issues associated with working as a community psychologist. Interested readers should refer to his case study of multiple loyalties and conflicting demands pertaining to a transition house for battered women and a daycare facility. Some interesting parallels to health promotion practice can be drawn from these cases. 201 Alter Current Practice The findings suggest that successful approaches to citizen participation initially appear to frame the impact of public policies in concrete terms, including perceived health and social effects. This tends to simplify issues as concrete "either/or" choices, yet risks polarizing communities. In the Referendum campaign under study, opposition campaign leaders initially framed their campaign issues in terms of the negative health and social effects that they perceived to be directly linked to building a new beer and wine store in their neighbourhood. This very concrete approach to issue framing resulted in the neighbourhood being polarized into two camps: those who favoured liberalization of alcohol availability and those who were perceived to favour neo-prohibitionist measures. It was only when the campaign issues were re-formed in terms of the lawsuit and the rights of citizens to speak out publicly about the new beer and wine store that a process of depolarization began. Elevating the issue in the lofty terms associated with civil rights diverted the public's perception of the campaign from an either/or choice about alcohol control and focused it on a debate about freedom of speech. As health promotion practitioners, we tend to frame issues in ways that we perceive as most useful and understandable to the public. What this usually results in are concrete messages about specific health concerns. The findings of this study suggest that practitioners may, in some instances, need to rethink this approach to framing issues, expanding their approach by placing more emphasis on the philosophy supporting citizen participation. This study found that elevating the issue to a more philosophical level tends to depolarize communities in their search for a negotiated course of action. Rather than attempting to create an army of community-based experts on whether and how a new beer and wine store might affect community health, 202 practitioners may need to cultivate community capacity to participate in decision making on public policy issues. The findings of this study force practitioners to consider some difficult questions regarding the development of indigenous leadership in communities like Mount Pleasant. Tough questions include: Who represents the leadership within the community? How long does a person have to live in a neighbourhood before they are considered a legitimate leader? Whose values should influence the community? Although this study does not provide any clear-cut answers to these questions, the findings do lend some support to Alinsky's ideas relating to top values and the development of indigenous leaders, as reviewed in Chapter 2. The findings of this study seem to reflect the notion that members of the middle class tend to have a greater capacity in terms of resources for participating in social action, while the poor and disenfranchised tend to have less. That does not mean that citizens living in poverty are not capable of being leaders. It means that the development of a few key leaders may further the establishment of a tradition of leadership within disenfranchised communities. When a tradition of leadership emerges within a community, it may be more likely that the next wave of leaders will include citizens who were previously reluctant to take on leadership roles. To prepare health promotion practitioners to function effectively in communities, broad-based, interdisciplinary education and training are required. As the findings of this study indicate, a working knowledge of the theories of citizen participation, public health, politics, and communication are important to prepare practitioners to facilitate citizen participation. In addition, practical training to develop skills in group dynamics and community organization are essential to properly prepare practitioners for working in communities. This kind of training may be best achieved through experiential learning. In that light, I recommend that all programs 203 (university and college level) dedicated to preparing health promotion practitioners require students to complete at least six months of practical experience in a community-based setting. 204 Implications for Healthful Public Policy The purpose of this section is to describe how the findings of this study inform the process of citizen participation in decision making about healthful public policy. Use of Referendums The findings of this study hold important considerations regarding reliance on the referendum process to examine, influence, and decide public policy. Regarding the capacity of the referendum process to examine public policy, Boyer (1992) stresses the legitimacy associated with decisions made using referendums. Although this study did not yield findings that would allow for a direct examination of the legitimacy of the decision made, it does raise concerns about the legitimacy of the information upon which voters made decisions. According to my findings, there is a strong relationship between what were perceived as co-opted media reports and the information made available to the public during the Referendum. For much of the early part of the campaign, opposition campaign leaders perceived that many of the voters in Mount Pleasant were inundated by the Hotel's opinions about the positive impact of the proposed new beer and wine store. In a similar vein, the counter-campaign mounted by opposition leaders was based on opinions about the negative impact of the new store. While opposition leaders believed that city officials had the ability to provide evidence-based statements rather than opinions about the potential impact of the new store, the officials were not permitted to comment on the matter during the campaign. Thus, voters were left to choose between two sets of opinions masquerading as facts. Part of the appeal of referendums is that they are perceived to work well in other contexts. The most frequently cited example of a place where referendums function well is Switzerland, 205 where there is a long tradition of referendums. Kobach (1993; 1994) concludes that generations of experience with the referendum device in Switzerland have cultivated a sophisticated political spirit of consensus, rather than a dictatorship of the majority. The findings of my study, however, seem to contrast with the experiences in Switzerland. The comparative lack of experience that Canadian voters have with the referendum device may partially account for this difference. In contrast to Switzerland, Canadian governments have tended to use the referendum device only as a means to establish specific mandates between elections during times of political turmoil (Boyer, 1992). Modified Approach to Conducting Referendums What citizens mean when they demand more participation remains somewhat unclear, as does the government-sponsored rhetoric regarding citizen participation. In this climate of uncertainty, it is not unexpected that familiar tools like the referendum tend to be relied on to facilitate citizen participation. My findings indicate, however, that there may be some doubt about the utility of the current form of referendums, since the device seemed to polarize communities and to exempt seeking a negotiated resolution to a problem or controversial issue. Based on this, I suggest the following modifications to the conducting of referendums: 1. Placing limits on the amount of money either side may spend on a campaign and following disclosure guidelines similar to those used during election campaigns may ensure community-based groups can participate on a more equitable basis with corporations. 2. Creating formal opportunities for compromise at specific points within the referendum process may help reorient the process towards a collaborative, problem-solving approach. For example, key stakeholders from both sides of the issue might be required to come 206 together in a "collaborative retreat" prior to initiating campaigns. Stakeholders should be encouraged to make joint applications to government for funds to cover the cost of hosting such a retreat. 3. Analyzing information from public opinion polls may help to determine public readiness to vote on issues. Yankelovich (1991; 1995) encourages policy-makers to make more use of longitudinal analysis of poll data collected over several years to determine whether the public has had sufficient time to deliberate over difficult issues. 4. Fostering public deliberation around a referendum issue, without arousing public resistance to change, may create a more collaborative, less confrontational, decision-making atmosphere. Extensive public deliberation is required when the issue under debate is important to people's lives, as health-related topics often are. Public deliberation is essential when some people may be required to make sacrifices that cost money or convenience, modify their behaviour, or compromise important values. Public deliberation is critical when special interests are involved in the issue and could be facilitated by modern communication technologies, such as the internet and auto-dialer messaging services as well as through existing community-based organizations, elected officials, and community newspapers. 5. Negotiating a suitable timeframe within which to conduct a referendum may relieve some of the pressure associated with conducting passionate campaigns over a short time period and encourage stakeholders to develop more thoughtful and reasoned arguments. Rather than abiding by arbitrary regulations that stipulate the maximum and minimum number of days allowed for referendum process, stakeholders could negotiate the length of the campaign and voting period. This kind of interaction among stakeholders could incrementally foster a more negotiated approach to decision making. 207 6. Establishing a neutral body to examine and verify all campaign materials may preempt potential lawsuits and prevent the use of bogus statistics. This builds on recommendation number 5 by specifying the need to have the campaign materials vetted with a neutral (or at least bipartisan) body prior to widespread distribution in the community. This could help prevent problems such as those experienced by the opposition campaign leaders which led to the lawsuit. 7. Conducting referendums on issues only after the public has been able to deliberate the ramifications of several policy alternatives may contribute to the development of a more informed public, which may subsequently result in more reasoned decision making. This is what Yankelovich (1991; 1995; 1996) refers to as "choicework". Computer modeling technology may assist the public in weighing the pros and cons of policy alternatives, like approaches applied in fields such as community planning. Problems Inherent in the Referendum Device If citizens are to be consulted about issues of public policy, such as alcohol control, environmental tobacco smoke, fluoridation, and public housing, then tools used to facilitate decision making should create safe and open arenas for discussion. Stakeholders with different beliefs should be able to focus on the issue at hand, instead of worrying about being sued or libeled. Citizen participation is necessary to ensure that decision makers reflect on concerns about the public good. Citizen participation should safeguard against policy being made to serve private interests of self-appointed leaders or the members of the corporate, political, and social elite. Based on the experiences of opposition campaign leaders, the referendum process as it has 208 been employed does not represent the best mechanism to facilitate focused negotiation on alcohol control policy, or other controversial public health policy issues. The findings of this study also prompt me to reflect on the potential lack of fit between the volatility associated with public opinion about alcohol control policy and a decision-making device like the referendum. While the referendum appears to provide an efficient way of consulting citizens, a careful distinction must be made between efficiency and efficacy. If our aim is to proceed through the process of citizen participation in a very efficient, time-conscious manner, then the referendum is a very useful tool. If our aim is to ensure that citizens have opportunities to consider and reformulate their opinions and to deliberate about decisions under empowering conditions, then I suggest that the referendum is too simplistic a tool for this purpose. Opposition leaders' unsavory experiences during the Referendum may have reflected a lack of fit between a volatile policy issue and a simplistic decision-making tool. Balancing the potential economic benefits to Mount Pleasant with the potential harm to the well-being of the community requires consideration of a variety of factors, rather than a "winner takes all" approach. Public policy issues such as alcohol control are simply too volatile to be decided upon using a mechanism that forces citizens to decide between a limited set of simplistic alternatives. For citizens to participate efficaciously, policy questions need to be formulated in ways that encourage rational discussion among stakeholders. The mechanism used to make decisions should facilitate creative and negotiated problem solving. Yankelovich (1991; 1995; 1996) hypothesizes that public opinion progresses through seven stages: awareness, urgency, searching for action, resistance, choice work, cognitive resolution, and judgment. Based on the findings of my study, I estimate that at the time of data 209 collection public opinion about alcohol control in Mount Pleasant was making a transition from the "searching for action" phase to the "resistance" phase. Searching for action is characterized by citizens demanding that elected officials offer some specific proposals for addressing alcohol problems in the neighbourhood. Resistance is characterized by citizens becoming bogged down in wishful thinking about simplistic solutions to complex problems. Until such time as the citizens of Mount Pleasant, their elected officials, and the business community can move beyond the resistance phase regarding the issue of alcohol control (Yankelovich, 1991), I believe that a moratorium should be placed on holding referendums on this topic in that community. The fact that alcohol control policy generates controversy does not in itself pose a problem for democratic decision making about this issue. However, the problem is compounded because the referendum device enhances stakeholders' abilities to resist deliberating about negotiated alternatives. The volatility associated with public opinion on alcohol control in our North American culture further complicates the process. The Paradoxes of Referendums My study findings raise a paradox regarding the application of simplistic, general solutions versus the development of specific understanding of manageable problems. Specifically, the application of the referendum device to facilitate citizen participation in decision making may be too simplistic, and in the case of the problem of alcohol control in Mount Pleasant, conducting a referendum may not have been the most appropriate approach. Citizen participation in a referendum may have diverted energy from developing a better understanding of, and possibly a series of negotiated solutions to, the specific problems related to alcohol in the community. 210 The results of my study also present a paradox between rationality and emotionality. Opinions that are formed as a result of emotional referendum campaigns may not provide particularly useful platforms upon which to base legitimate and logical policy decisions. The campaigns that generally occur during referendums tend to inject emotion into debates about complex public policy issues. This can result in citizens making important decisions based on inflamed passions, rather than on an enlarged understanding of the issue. Ultimately, this results in policy dictated by the campaigner who can best play on citizens' emotions, instead of policy that has been determined through rational deliberation among stakeholders. An example of the derailment of rational debate by emotion is the recent events regarding U.S. health care reform. Disch's (1996) report on the American health care debate outlines how opponents of reform used emotionally charged political advertising to derail a cognitively based debate. Disch (1996) suggests that President Clinton's administration was vulnerable to opponents of health care reform because they limited public discussion to scripted, campaign-style events and testimonials. The findings of my study also imply that citizens are vulnerable to disengaging from confrontational and emotional debates. The experiences of opposition campaign leaders reflect an especially unpleasant experience with the media, that is, the co-opting of the local media. Other research indicates that individual understanding of public issues forms in, and through, political debate and media coverage (Page & Shapiro, 1992; Zaller, 1992). When the results of my study are considered in light of this evidence, the influence that the media has in shaping public debate and in modifying public opinion during referendums becomes particularly apparent. Although more research is needed, my findings around the role of the media and 211 disengaging can be interpreted as being consistent with the conclusion that public discourse is becoming more limited (Jacobs, 1996). Governments around the world are shifting their orientation from large, bureaucratic structures toward smaller-scale, policy-oriented roles (Osborne & Gabler, 1991). Within the newly downsized and flattened governance structures, our governments rely more heavily than ever on citizen participation to develop public policy (Roberts, 1995). Some experts (Marquis, 1993; Boyer, 1992) predict that referendums may be used more frequently to meet the demands for increased opportunities for participation. The long-term implications for democracy may be serious if this predicted trend becomes a reality. The campaign-styled referendum process plays best in the hands of political "barnstormers" and electioneers, and does not encourage negotiation among stakeholders. It is this flaw that makes the implementation of the referendum process appear to enhance citizen participation, while the process may actually limit the development of an adequately informed electorate. If, as predicted, referendums come to be used with increased frequency, then the quality of citizen participation in decision making about healthful public policy should not be expected to improve. Alternatives to Referendums My study results also suggest that communities should consider adopting alternatives to the referendum process. If the findings of this study hold generality, and it is confirmed in further research that the referendum process poses high costs to citizens who participate, then it seems unlikely that large numbers of citizens will attempt to participate in the future — at least via the referendum. In addition, if the sociopolitical climate in Canada becomes increasingly neo-conservative, reliance on such a dysfunctional referendum mechanism presents a potential threat 212 to protecting the public's interest when it runs contrary to powerful private interests. What is needed are institutions and decision-making mechanisms that "hold some promise for breaking through barriers to communication, trust, and mutual learning that often exist between ordinary people and scientific/administrative elites" (McCay & Jentoft, 1996, p. 247). I suggest the following alternatives to conducting referendums should be explored. Deliberative Opinion Polling Conducting "deliberative opinion polls" creates conditions under which citizens can 48 interact and deliberate for a sustained period of time about public issues (Fishkin, 1991 ;1995). Deliberative polling randomly selects respondents in "a national sample and invites them to gather in one place where, for several days, they can interact under conditions facilitating sustained deliberation" (Fishkin, 1995, p. 43). The debate and deliberation among randomly selected citizens is televised, as are the results of the final deliberations. Deliberative polling relies on two modern technologies: statistical sampling techniques and television. Because citizens are selected using the random sampling techniques of public opinion polling, they tend to be representative of a microcosm of the public, at least in terms of socio-demographics. The difference being that traditional polls "tend to tap [and publicize] what the public is thinking, even though the public may not be thinking very much" (Fishkin, 1995, p. 162), while a deliberative poll models promote what the public "would think, had it a better James Fishkin's ideas of deliberative opinion polls and rolling community conventions are also described in the October, 1992 issue of Atlantic Monthly Magazine within an article entitled "Teledemocracy" by Amitai Etzioni, pp. 34-3, and in the Summer, 1993 issue of the National Civic Review in an article entitled, "The Community Convention" by Michael Briand, pp. 290-297). 213 opportunity to consider the questions at issue" (p. 162). Clear differences between traditional polling and deliberative polling emerge around the process of developing an engaged and informed public. Fishkin argues that deliberative polls have greater potential to affect voter decision making than do traditional polls. Deliberative polling can be conducted with samples representing the nation, the province, the municipality, or local community. Fishkin (1995) suggests that deliberative opinion polls have the capacity to generate social capital, as citizens who are engaged and informed create "communities that function [in an informed manner], and a media that [is forced to] speak for us as well as about us" (p. 176). Deliberative opinion polls could facilitate citizens' abilities to overcome barriers to actively participating in decision making and to encourage the development of informed grassroots opinion leaders. As a complementary mechanism to representative democracy, deliberative opinion polls represent an excellent alternative to referendum campaigns, to traditional polling, and to the potential resultant harm of ill-informed public decision making. Deliberative polling holds implications for developing an informed public on almost any kind of issue, however, this tool promises an enormous positive influence on attempts to develop a better informed electorate regarding health and social policies. As a tool for promoting the public's understanding of health and social issues, the deliberative opinion poll represents a constructive alternative to referendums. The gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands that so often afflict our professional elites when the public makes ill-infomed choices about health-Fishkin's recommendations were first tested in Britain in 1994, when a randomly selected sample of 300 citizens were transported to Manchester to participate in a weekend long deliberative poll about the issues of crime and unemployment. A baseline survey of potential participants was conducted a month prior to attending the deliberate poll. The same survey was administered at the end of the weekend. Marked and coherent differences were noted between the two measurements. Participants remained tough on crime, but after experiencing the deliberative poll, they presented much more complex appreciation of the problem. By the end of the weekend, participants were demanding much more sophisticated policy action to address these issues. 214 related policies and programs via traditional decision-making mechanisms could be minimized, if not avoided completely, using deliberative opinion polls. As health promotion practitioners and policy-makers struggle to adhere to the ideals of facilitating citizen participation and ensuring issues are relevant to our audiences, we need to apply and adapt a deliberative polling approach to our work with communities. Proactive Power Developing a sense of proactive agency (Fryer, 1994)50 relates to the tendency for individuals and communities to engage in self-selected, goal-directed behaviour. Under these conditions, people chose to "take the lead, initiate and intervene in situations either by actively changing or by creatively reperceiving and then exploiting revealed opportunities to bring about change in valued directions rather than responding to imposed change passively" (Fryer, 1994, p. 12). As an alternative to conducting referendums on public policy issues, more efforts should be focused on supporting the development of collective proactive power (Cassell, Fitter, Fryer & Smith, 1988). These efforts should build on the positive influence of deliberative opinion polling and should include programs to enhance existing skills within neighbourhoods, such as Mount Pleasant. Although the appalling effects of poverty and alcohol and other drug problems remain apparent, opposition campaign leaders and other citizens have, on occasion, taken collective action to improve their neighbourhood. Data, and the skills to use them effectively, represent Fryer (1994) takes care to distinguish between proactivity and individualism, by emphasizing the role of the collective in acting in an empowered manner that is beneficial to individuals and the group. The concept of proactivity is illustrated through a description of the collective and innovative implementation of new computer technology by unemployed people (Cassell, et al., 1988). 215 powerful tools to enhance informed decision making at the community level. Promoting and facilitating communities' use of data will inevitably redistribute power in a more equitable fashion between professionals and lay persons. For example, the use of computerized geographic information systems represents a way to bring together existing data, technology, and human resources to promote more informed policy and program planning at the community level. Promoting community capacity to use data to develop more complete understandings of their own context and issues is a more empowering process than is having professionals provide citizens a series of reports on which citizens are expected to take action. Health promotion planning models, such as the PRECEDE/PROCEED Model (Green & Kreuter, 1991), are powerful learning and teaching tools for communities, policy-makers, practitioner, and researchers.52 Focusing on the collective capacity of a neighbourhood to use existing data and technologies implies a redistribution of power, which subsequently implies a redistribution of responsibility. As a society, we need to prepare to nourish the potential changes that will emerge as previously disempowered communities develop a sense of proactive agency. Equitable Distribution of Power Equitable distribution of power teaches a psychology of empowerment to the powerful, as well as to the powerless. This recommendation builds on the previous two suggestions, as well as the work of other researchers and practitioners who assert that fundamental societal changes are required for citizen participation to function in a manner befitting our democratic ideals. Because the powerful elite hold the balance of social, material, and economic power, their participation in 5 2 A user-friendly, computerized software application of the PRECEDE/PROCEED Model is currently being adapted and tested in communities in Canada. 216 redistributing power on a more equitable basis is essential (Rappaport, 1994). My research supports the idea that a small group of citizens can affect, at least intermittently, decisions about public policy, despite a flawed process and without professional intervention. The sustainability of this kind of social action is often challenged, however, by the intransigence of existing power structures. The solutions rest not only with the power of the individual, nor solely in re-engineering our decision-making system. Combinations of both approaches are needed, which can be tailored to community context and are flexible enough to evolve when necessary. Health promotion practitioners and policy-makers are in a unique position to influence both individual and systemic power arrangements. Although it may not be fashionable currently, most practitioners and policy-makers would agree that individuals and collectives (e.g., families, communities, agencies, corporations, and governments) need to accept responsibility for the social repercussions of their behaviours. This adage applies equally well to powerful and privileged citizens as it does to those citizens who are currently situated in less dominant positions. Many neo-conservative governments and members of the media have twisted this argument to blame the victims of poverty and other untoward social conditions for their own circumstances. In addition, this individualistic approach further isolates these citizens by finding them culpable for draining the system of its resources. It is time to turn this argument on its head. Those who enjoy the privileges associated with their powerful status must in accordance accept a higher degree of social responsibility to ensure that four basic values of a democracy are brought to life — deliberation, non-tyranny, political equality and participation (Fishkin, 1995). I am not arguing that middle class Canadians should be further taxed (neither in the literal or figurative sense) to provide for basic health and social services to maintain the well-being of all 217 citizens in Canada. Nor do I argue that the rich should give away all their money and adjust their standard of living to that of the poor. What I argue for is a shift in mentality within the political, corporate, professional, and civic leadership in our country. This shift demands that our system for decision making be redesigned to promote meaningful deliberation among citizens about public issues and that citizens assume constructive and proactive stances, rather than destructive and reactive, or worse still, passive stances, to the processes of deliberation and participation. Addressing concerns about the tyranny of the majority is of primary importance within a democracy. I agree with Fishkin (1995) when he asserts that an atmosphere of mutual respect makes "the tyranny of the majority unlikely" (p. 173). However, avoiding the tyranny of the majority at the ballot box does not preclude the public's suffering at the hands of a very powerful minority. For example, within many communities a small minority of individuals control the factories, businesses, and agencies that employ the majority of citizens. In these situations, teaching the principles of empowerment to the powerful minority is critical to redistributing 53 power in a more equitable fashion across the entire community. My discussion of the concept of political equality goes beyond concerns about counting all votes equally. Although this aspect of political equality is important, the notion that I want to explore here is that of developing equitable voices within communities. Equitable voices means that all citizens share a similar likelihood that their voices will have an opportunity to be heard. I do not propose a system of decision making that attempts to please all people. Rather, I propose development of a system in which citizens have the opportunity to share their opinions, stories about their experiences and expertise under empowering conditions. This kind of systemic Weisbord (1987) provides compelling arguments for applying democratic principles within the corporate environment. 218 change relies on the development of an informed public which is sufficiently sophisticated in its approach to problem solving and decision making. Finally, on the issue of participation, I would like to reiterate my conclusions regarding elevating the issue and provide another level of insight on those comments. I believe it is futile to attempt to create an army of community-based experts on whether and how specific policies might affect community health. Rather, health promotion practitioners, policy-makers, and researchers need to re-focus their energy on enhancing the development of the community's capacity to deliberate and participate in decision making. By enhancing the capacity of our current decision-making context to support and nurture participation, health promotion efforts can contribute to the development of a society where the operationalization of democratic values becomes the norm. When citizen participation under empowering conditions becomes the norm, we can hope to see the beneficial results of deliberation, non-tyranny, and political equality. Like most professionals, in addition to our roles as health promotion policy-makers, practitioners, and researchers we also bear the responsibility of our roles as citizens. In fulfilling these shared roles, we can become discouraged, disgruntled, and frustrated by the sheer enormity and complexity of the task ahead of us. I hope the findings of this study provide encouragement, convey a sense of what can be achieved, and stimulate individual and collective action. 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