Sign in Sign up

Perplexity: The emotional complexities of generating user participation in public sector organizations by Anne Pässilä and Russ Vince

Public service organizations are full of contradictory feelings and actions, that both invite users to participate, and that discourage them from participation. In this research, arts-based methods were used to study emotional and organizational dynamics that are integral to the development and avoidance of young peoples’ participation in the services designed for them. The theoretical puzzle that motivates this study concerns how to identify and engage with emotions, tensions and defenses embedded in services for young people that simultaneously both encourage and discourage participation.
The main argument is that engaging with the perplexity (the emotional complexity) within the system is a key factor in improving both providers’ and users’ understanding of participation. The study addresses a gap in knowledge about individual and social defenses against participation; as well as how to support participation by working through such defenses.

The paper contributes to systems psychodynamic theory by linking social defenses and mixed emotions to better understand the emotional complexity of attempts to involve young people in the services designed for them. Perplexity is presented as a heuristic for engaging with the ongoing tension between avoidance and improvement. Art-pedagogy provides a medium through which to develop user participation in public service organizations..

To download the article, click here:
Antoine Legrand