Exploring sustainability through stakeholders' perspectives and hybrid water in the Swiss alps

Schneider, Flurina (2015). Exploring sustainability through stakeholders' perspectives and hybrid water in the Swiss alps. Water Alternatives, 8(2), pp. 280-296. Water Alternatives

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Can the concept of water as a socio-natural hybrid and the analysis of different users’ perceptions of water advance the study of water sustainability? In this article, I explore this question by empirically studying sustainability values and challenges, as well as distinct types of water as identified by members of five water user groups in a case study region in the Swiss Alps. Linking the concept of water as a socio-natural hybrid with the different water users’ perspectives provided valuable insights into the complex relations between material, cultural, and discursive practices. In particular, it provided a clearer picture of existing water sustainability challenges and the factors and processes that hinder more sustainable outcomes. However, by focusing on relational processes and individual stakeholder perspectives, only a limited knowledge could be created regarding a) what a more sustainable water future would look like and b) how current unsustainable practices can be effectively transformed into more sustainable ones. I conclude by arguing that the concept of water as a socio-natural hybrid provides an interesting analytical tool for investigating sustainability questions; however, if it is to contribute to water sustainability, it needs to be integrated into a broader transdisciplinary research perspective that understands science as part of a deliberative and reflective process of knowledge co-production and social learning between all actor groups involved.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

10 Strategic Research Centers > Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)

UniBE Contributor:

Schneider, Flurina

ISSN:

1965-0175

Publisher:

Water Alternatives

Projects:

[444] Approaching water stress in the Alps

Language:

English

Submitter:

Stephan Schmidt

Date Deposited:

07 Jul 2015 08:36

Last Modified:

24 Mar 2017 17:39

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.70112

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/70112

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