Civil Society, Governance and Community Sustainable Development: A Cognitive Approach on the Example of Rural Poland
The article covers the problem of relations between civil society, governance and sustainable development. It assumes that the integration and cooperation of all social actors as well as the forms of knowledge they use to define development objectives are indispensable conditions to sustainable development, and that civil society and governance structures are crucial mechanisms in such integration. The article argues that the meaning of sustainable development is the object of a struggle between the values shared by different actors and represented by different types of knowledge. It discusses the changing meanings of sustainable development as well as the role of civil society and governance structures as mechanisms in the integration of various actors and their rationales in decision-making about development. It identifies the different models of civil society and governance structures and analyses their impact on sustainable development. To illustrate the role of various models of civil society and governance structures in the implementation of sustainable development programs, the article provides case studies from rural Poland.