Session materials from “Words Matter: How Paying Attention to Documents Can Make Cooperatives Stronger,” presented by Dr. Avery Edenfield at NASCO Institute 2016.
Cooperative documentation has meaning beyond words on a page; texts are not neutral documents. Paying attention to drafting, revising, and interpreting processes can give insight to underlying personal dynamics, revealing tension, disagreement, exclusions, or contradictions. We will review data from a longitudinal study of a cooperative where Dr. Edenfield analyzed texts written by founders, the Board of Directors, and staff. This study shows the texts’ social effects extended for years, sometimes nearly invisible to those involved. Participants will learn about the importance of writing and interpreting processes, as well as strategies for ensuring those processes are democratic, transparent, and inclusive. Together, we will brainstorm writing practices to apply the lessons learned from this research.