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Environmental co-governance, legitimacy, and the quest for compliance: When and why is stakeholder participation desirable?
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science. Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
2016 (English)In: Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning, ISSN 1523-908X, E-ISSN 1522-7200, Vol. 18, no 3, 306-323 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Deliberative forms of stakeholder participation have been widely embraced as a key measure for addressing legitimacy deficits and non-compliance in environmental governance. However, the great significance of such collaborative structures for state-stakeholder interaction is much too often accepted uncritically as an established truth in the environmental policy discourse. Building on examples from the literature on fisheries co-governance, this article constructs a conceptual and normative framework for interpreting and assessing such views about co-governance, legitimacy and compliance. Analysing central claims in this discourse in relation to different concepts and standards of legitimacy helps us identify and distinguish many powerful reasons to welcome co-governance. However, the article defends the need to do so cautiously and reflectively. It is conceptually misleading to suggest that more intense forms of co-governance will generally improve the overall level of social legitimacy and, thereby, compliance rates among stakeholders. Furthermore, it is argued that the democratic value of co-governance is not fundamental. The democratic desirability of such arrangements should be primarily assessed on instrumental-pragmatic grounds, focusing on their capacity to serve the wider ideals of equal citizenship and public reason.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 18, no 3, 306-323 p.
Keyword [en]
Collaborative governance, stakeholder participation, legitimacy, fisheries, compliance
National Category
Political Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-120359DOI: 10.1080/1523908X.2015.1077440ISI: 000377275300004OAI: diva2:852040
Regime Shifts in the Baltic Sea Ecosystem
Swedish Research Council Formas
Available from: 2015-09-07 Created: 2015-09-07 Last updated: 2016-07-04Bibliographically approved

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Birnbaum, Simon
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Department of Political ScienceStockholm Resilience Centre
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