Change search
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf
Learning to live with social-ecological complexity: An interpretive analysis of learning in 11 UNESCO Biosphere Reserves
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. The James Hutton Institute, UK.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre. Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain.
Show others and affiliations
Number of Authors: 82018 (English)In: Global Environmental Change, ISSN 0959-3780, E-ISSN 1872-9495, Vol. 50, p. 75-87Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Learning is considered a means to achieve sustainability in practice and has become a prominent goal of sustainability interventions. In this paper we explore how learning for sustainability is shaped by meaning, interpretation and experience, in the context of UNESCO Biosphere Reserves (BRs). The World Network of Biosphere Reserves brings environmental conservation, socio-economic development and research together in 'learning sites for sustainable development.' The World Network is globally significant, with 669 BRs in 120 countries, but as with many paradigmatic sustainability interventions BRs are perceived to suffer from a 'concept-reality gap.' We explore this gap from an interpretive perspective, focusing on participant interpretations of the meaning of BRs and their experiences of working with the concept - with the aim of painting a richer picture of learning for sustainability and the ways in which BRs might fulfil their role as learning sites. We provide a cross-case analysis of learning in 11 BRs around the world, drawing on interviews with 177 participants, and ask: How is the BR concept interpreted and enacted by people involved with BR work? What learning emerges through BR work, as described by those involved? We find that the BR concept is interpreted differently in each location, producing distinct expectations, practices and institutional designs. Learning occurs around common themes - human environment relationships, actors and governance arrangements, and skills to navigate BR work - but is expressed very differently in each BR. The position of BRs 'in between' social, ecological and economic goals; local places and global networks; and government, private and civil society sectors, provides a valuable space for participants to learn to live with social-ecological complexity. We discuss our results in terms of their contribution to three pressing concerns in sustainability science: (i) power and politics in learning for sustainability, (ii) intermediaries and bridging organizations in multi-level governance, and (iii) reflexivity and knowledge action relationships. Our comparative hermeneutic approach makes a novel methodological contribution to interpretive studies of sustainability policy and governance.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 50, p. 75-87
Keywords [en]
Comparative case study, Qualitative, Bridging organizations, Sustainability science, Multi-level governance, Science-policy interface
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences Social and Economic Geography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-158161DOI: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2018.03.001ISI: 000436223800006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-158161DiVA, id: diva2:1234226
Available from: 2018-07-23 Created: 2018-07-23 Last updated: 2018-07-23Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text in DiVA

Other links

Publisher's full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Schultz, LisenWest, SimonBourke, Alba JuarezRoldan, Alba Mohedano
By organisation
Stockholm Resilience CentreDepartment of Human GeographyDepartment of Political Science
In the same journal
Global Environmental Change
Earth and Related Environmental SciencesSocial and Economic Geography

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar

doi
urn-nbn

Altmetric score

doi
urn-nbn
Total: 4 hits
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf