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Reinventing the commons

exploring the emergence of local natural resource management arrangements

Sandström, Emil (2008). Reinventing the commons. Diss. (sammanfattning/summary) Uppsala : Sveriges lantbruksuniv., Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae, 1652-6880 ; 2008:48
ISBN 978-91-85913-81-7
[Doctoral thesis]

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The thesis explores the emergence of local natural resource management arrangements as a contextual and negotiated process in two rural communities in northern Sweden: Ammarnäs and Coastal Ring. It analyses particular practices and meanings that appear in the struggles to develop local management arrangements and discusses the observations made in relation to dominant theories in natural resource management. By exploring the emergence of local natural resource management arrangements in a contemporary situation and as a contextual and negotiated process the study seeks to contribute to the debates on how local institutional arrangements for the management of common pool resources emerge. The research design is qualitative, based on interviews and participant observation. Theoretically, the study is grounded in a social constructionist perspective on institutional theory in which institutionalisation processes are conceived of as processes of gaining legitimacy and the construction of shared understandings. The thesis also draws on discourse theory and presents and reflects upon the dominant theoretical approaches to natural resource management. The results reveal that the emergence of local management arrangements was sparked by a combination of interrelated factors, such as contemporary and historical state interventions in resource management, conflicts over natural resources and through international and national policies on natural resource management. The study elucidates how particular meanings and practices were ascribed to local management. People constructed local management discursively by giving legitimacy to local management through a process of reinvention, where narratives from past natural resource management experiences were drawn on and adapted for needs in the present. The struggle to develop local management arrangements also influenced social relations and people’s identification with the surrounding environment as well as people’s constructions of identities vis-a-vis each other. The study raises questions about the predictability of institutional design based on theories emphasising economic rational choice. The analysis suggests that in order to enhance the understanding of how local management arrangements over natural resources emerge, we need to move beyond descriptions of principles of how systems of common pool resources at the local level are best designed and also examine the emergent properties that appear when local management arrangements are negotiated. The thesis argues that understandings are required that reflect the socially and historically embedded nature of local management arrangements to more fully understand some of the complexity that unfolds when people organise to take increased management responsibility over adjacent natural resources.

Authors/Creators:Sandström, Emil
Title:Reinventing the commons
Subtitle:exploring the emergence of local natural resource management arrangements
Series Name/Journal:Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
Year of publishing :2008
Number of Pages:228
Place of Publication:Uppsala
ISBN for printed version:978-91-85913-81-7
Publication Type:Doctoral thesis
Full Text Status:Public
Agrovoc terms:natural resources, local government, resource management, rural development, nature conservation, land use, policies, sweden
Keywords:Local management, institutionalisation, natural resource management, reinvention, common pool resources, discourse, rural development, shared understanding
Permanent URL:
ID Code:1798
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
(LTJ, LTV) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
Deposited By: Emil Sandström
Deposited On:28 Aug 2008 00:00
Metadata Last Modified:02 Dec 2014 10:14

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