Food for thought: Conditions for discourse reflection in the ligth of environmental assessment

Hens Runhaar, Piety Runhaar, Tammo Oegema

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


People tend to take notice of what is happening around them selectively. Discourses—frames through which actors give meaning to aspects of the world—act as built-in filters that distinguish relevant from irrelevant data. Use of knowledge generated by environmental assessments (EAs) in decision-making may be understood from this perspective. Environmental knowledge that is inconsistent with dominant discourses runs the risk of being ignored. Discourses on the value of EA as a tool for decision-making may have a similar effect. Stimulating decision-makers and stakeholders to critically reflect on and reconsider their discourses in the light of EAs—also known as frame reflection or policy learning—may enhance the probability that these assessments and the knowledge that they generate impact upon decision-making. Up to now little has been written about how discourse reflection in the context of EA can be promoted. Valuable inputs are fragmented over different bodies of literature. In this paper we draw from these bodies to identify favourable conditions for discourse reflection
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-346
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental impact assessment review
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • IR-73952
  • METIS-271312


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