About the Parkland Institute

Introduction

Parkland Institute is an Alberta-wide, non-partisan research centre situated within the Faculty of Arts at the University of Alberta.

Parkland Institute studies economic, social, cultural and political issues facing Albertans and Canadians, using the perspective of political economy. The Institute shares the results of its research widely and promotes discussion of the issues its research raises. Within post-secondary institutions, Parkland Institute includes those who are involved in interdisciplinary and socially-engaged thinking. In the broader Alberta community, Parkland Institute works with religious organizations, professionals, trade unionists, the arts community, non-profit organizations, environmentalists, feminists, social movement activists, private sector individuals and other interested individuals. The composition of the Board of Parkland Institute reflects these diverse publics.

Rationale

Parkland Institute exists because of wide-spread concern about rapid changes within Alberta's and Canada's political and economic culture. Political discourse has taken a new turn as the language and assumptions of the marketplace have expanded corporate power and challenged the role and ethos of the public sector and the commons. The post-war consensus on providing public services to all citizens and the image of Canada as a caring and sharing society can no longer be taken for granted. The future of the state and the public sector as agencies of community purpose are under scrutiny as never before.

In this new intellectual and policy climate, market-oriented assumptions, arguments and policies need to be examined to determine whether or not they can be justified. This examination, touching on issues of provincial, national and international importance, requires more than partisan and self-interested participation if it is to reflect the views of Albertans and other Canadians. Through scholarly research and public education, Parkland Institute draws attention to and promotes discussion of these substantive questions that are central to political dialogue in Alberta and Canada.

Philosophical Orientation

Parkland Institute conducts research within the long-established intellectual approach of Canadian political economy. Parkland examines power and wealth differentials, social and class-based conflicts, and ways in which public policy and public choice shape and are shaped by these factors. Parkland seeks to provide ways to understand forces of change, forces that resist change, and conflicts of interest in our society. This understanding identifies the decisions that must be made if these forces are to be harnessed for social change and the greater good.

Political economy is highly interdisciplinary, drawing on economics, history, business, anthropology, sociology and political science to uncover material and conceptual linkages among aspects of our society.

Our Impact - 2008 Self-study

In 2008, as part of a review process carried out by the University of Alberta of our research, impact and effectiveness, the Parkland Institute prepared a detailed self-study outlining our work, areas of success, and major accomplishments.  The study clearly demonstrates the ability of Parkland Institute to consistently perform and deliver results far beyond what would be expected of an organization of our size and budget.  The full self-study can be downloaded in pdf format by clicking here.

 

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