Moving from sustainable management to sustainable governance of natural resources: The role of social learning processes in rural India, Bolivia and Mali

Rist, Stephan; Chidambaranathan, Mani; Escobar, Cesar; Wiesmann, Urs; Zimmermann, Anne (2007). Moving from sustainable management to sustainable governance of natural resources: The role of social learning processes in rural India, Bolivia and Mali. Journal of rural studies, 23(1), pp. 23-37. Oxford: Pergamon 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2006.02.006

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The present paper discusses a conceptual, methodological and practical framework within which the limitations of the conventional notion of natural resource management (NRM) can be overcome. NRM is understood as the application of scientific ecological knowledge to resource management. By including a consideration of the normative imperatives that arise from scientific ecological knowledge and submitting them to public scrutiny, ‘sustainable management of natural resources’ can be recontextualised as ‘sustainable governance of natural resources’. This in turn makes it possible to place the politically neutralising discourse of ‘management’ in a space for wider societal debate, in which the different actors involved can deliberate and negotiate the norms, rules and power relations related to natural resource use and sustainable development. The transformation of sustainable management into sustainable governance of natural resources can be conceptualised as a social learning process involving scientists, experts, politicians and local actors, and their corresponding scientific and non-scientific knowledges. The social learning process is the result of what Habermas has described as ‘communicative action’, in contrast to ‘strategic action’. Sustainable governance of natural resources thus requires a new space for communicative action aiming at shared, intersubjectively validated definitions of actual situations and the goals and means required for transforming current norms, rules and power relations in order to achieve sustainable development. Case studies from rural India, Bolivia and Mali explore the potentials and limitations for broadening communicative action through an intensification of social learning processes at the interface of local and external knowledge. Key factors that enable or hinder the transformation of sustainable management into sustainable governance of natural resources through social learning processes and communicative action are discussed.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Integrative Geography > Unit Geography of Sustainable Development
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > NCCR North-South Management Centre (discontinued)
10 Strategic Research Centers > Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)

UniBE Contributor:

Rist, Stephan; Wiesmann, Urs Martin and Zimmermann, Anne

ISSN:

0743-0167

Publisher:

Pergamon

Language:

English

Submitter:

Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:59

Last Modified:

17 Oct 2015 16:51

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.jrurstud.2006.02.006

Web of Science ID:

000243612700003

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.25552

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/25552 (FactScience: 59096)

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