Social complexity : ‘Community’ and the Start Smart, Stay Safe Children’s Project

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Utilizing Manuel DeLanda’s Assemblage Theory as this thesis’ theoretical framework, this qualitative case study strives to see how the discourse of ‘community’ is envisioned and subsequently influences the Start Smart Stay Safe Children’s Project assemblage through its formulation stage. The Start Smart Stay Safe Children’s Project is an innovative partnership between the Calgary Police Service, Mount Royal University, Calgary Catholic School District and the Calgary Public School Board that promotes resiliency in children through a classroom setting. The thesis’ first research objective was to understand the complexities behind the specific project’s formulation. Actor Network Theory was utilized as a method to trace the S4 Children’s Project’s formulation trajectory. After this descriptive tracing, the envisioned discourses of ‘community’ were analyzed through key informant interviews. After elaborating and differentiating on the differences between the organizations involved, an assemblage analysis was done to show the particular processes that have reified the complexities and trajectories of these varying discourses of ‘community’. What was seen is that all of these discourses are highly coded by a multiplicity of factors. Although these discourses of ‘community’ did not highly affect the direct content or philosophy of the Children’s Project itself, it did cause tension at times due to varying organizational cultures, frameworks, resources, and capacities.
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