A relational approach to deal with ambiguity in multi-actor governance for sustainability

M. Craps*, M. F. Brugnach

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Multi-actor governance is considered necessary when the complexity of an issue transcends the knowledge base, decisional power and resources of a single actor. The challenges related to the massive degradation of the natural environment stimulate the recent interest in this approach. One main goal of the collective decision processes in multi-actor governance is the development of common aims that are aligned to local conditions, and that integrate scientific facts and expert opinions with local knowledge. Deciding collectively, as proposed by multi-actor governance, has profound implications for how ambiguous issues are handled, because different actors hold different frames of what is at stake. In this paper we argue for accepting and dealing adequately with ambiguity, instead of trying to eliminate it, as it is an expression of complexity itself. When we conceive knowledge as resulting from embodied interaction processes in and between communities, then ambiguity is the result of different ways of being in and dealing with the world. Such a relational view directs the attention to boundary crossing practices between different communities that are able to connect and mutually enrich scientific and other ways of knowing. This results in "generative" propositions that open up new interaction possibilities between scientists and other actors to co-create knowledge for sustainability.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationManagement of Natural Resources, Sustainable Development and Ecological Hazards IV
EditorsCarlos A. Brebbia
PublisherWitpress
Pages233-243
Number of pages11
Volume199
Edition1
ISBN (Electronic)9781845649708
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015
Event4th International Conference on Management of Natural Resources, Sustainable Development and Ecological Hazards 2015 - Opatija, Croatia
Duration: 1 Jul 20153 Jul 2015
Conference number: 4

Conference

Conference4th International Conference on Management of Natural Resources, Sustainable Development and Ecological Hazards 2015
CountryCroatia
CityOpatija
Period1/07/153/07/15

Keywords

  • Ambiguity
  • Boundary management
  • Embodied knowledge
  • Framing
  • Governance
  • Local knowledge
  • Multi-actor
  • Relational quality
  • Sustainability

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