New Book: Crossing Boundaries for Collaboration

Published: September 28th, 2016

Category: Frontpage Featured

Dr. Stephen Perz, Professor of Sociology here at the University of Florida, recently published his latest book, Crossing Boundaries for Collaboration: Conservation and Development Projects in the Amazon, available from Rowman & Littlefield. Dr. Perz writes, “The book is about spanning disciplines, organizational types and countries in order to pursue collaborative projects, using several recent projects led by UF in the Amazon as case studies.”


From the publisher:

Many societal challenges defy simple solutions within the grasp of one academic discipline, a single type of organization, or a country acting alone. Such “wicked problems” require collaboration that crosses social, political, or geographic boundaries. Collaboration across boundaries is increasingly seen as a necessary way forward, whether for the cases of education, health care, community policing, or international trade. At the same time, collaboration poses its own challenges, and what is more, so too does crossing boundaries. Regardless of the skill set required to achieve a particular goal, collaboration and crossing boundaries make their own demands.


Crossing Boundaries for Collaboration brings together multiple bodies of work on collaboration across different kinds of boundaries. It highlights the promise of “collaborative advantage,” while featuring detailed discussions of the challenges involved. It provides a framework for thinking about collaboration in terms of a suite of issues, each with particular tasks and challenges that can be addressed via strategic practices. This book also features an extensive discussion of the importance of boundaries for collaboration, which recognizes that while crossing boundaries complicates collaboration, spanning divides can also magnify collaborative advantage.


To illustrate the joys and travails of collaboration across boundaries, this book takes up the case of conservation and development in the Amazon. Well-known for its biological resources, the basin is changing rapidly, and Amazonian societies increasingly demand inclusive approaches to conservation and development. This book draws on firsthand experiences from direct participation in several complicated conservation and development projects that spanned disciplinary, organizational, and national boundaries. While the projects permitted achievement of goals beyond the reach of individual partners, the challenges along the way were daunting.


This book focuses on issues of particular salience when collaborating across boundaries: politics and inequality, uncertainty and surprise, and collaboration and the self. It also underscores the strategic importance of investing in collaborative practice and the experience of crossing boundaries, even if an initial effort fails. In light of growing need to address complex problems, this book provides a clarion call to collaborate across boundaries, recognizing the difficulties in order to achieve the advantages.


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