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Whose Threat Counts?: Conservation Narratives in the Wakatobi National Park, Indonesia
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
Number of Authors: 2
2015 (English)In: Conservation and Society, ISSN 0972-4923, E-ISSN 0975-3133, Vol. 13, no 2, 154-165 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The ongoing global decline of coral reefs and their associated fisheries highlights issues of governance, including contrasting interpretations of the marine environment, the drivers and agents of environmental degradation, and the appropriate actions to address these. It is therefore essential to understand the social practices of value articulation through which marine ecosystems and resources are assigned meaning and recognition. In this regard, narratives identifying which aspects of the environment should be made resilient, to what threats, and through which solutions are particularly important. Such narratives may fundamentally alter marine governance by defining which knowledge counts, steering conservation activities toward certain goals, and assigning people with new identities. We explore these issues in the context of a marine national park in eastern Indonesia, where the key narratives revolve around values associated with high coral reef biodiversity. International and domestic conservation-oriented organisations promote a narrative describing the park as a success story exemplifying co-management and equality in decision-making. Furthermore, a narrative emphasising illegal fishing by outsiders creates an adversarial scenario that favours certain more powerful institutions and subsumes competing narratives emanating from disadvantaged ethnic minorities. We suggest that these narratives reflect critical issues of governance, including resource allocation, management practices, stakeholder relations, and influence conservation outcomes by favouring the protection of some species, ecosystems, and sites over others.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 13, no 2, 154-165 p.
Keyword [en]
marine conservation, governance, marine national park, narratives, value articulation, framing, illegal fishing, Coral Triangle Initiative, Indonesia
National Category
Environmental Sciences Social and Economic Geography
Research subject
Sustainability Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-121700DOI: 10.4103/0972-4923.164194ISI: 000361056800004OAI: diva2:860906
Available from: 2015-10-14 Created: 2015-10-13 Last updated: 2015-10-14Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Reef Futures: Exploring the dynamics of transformative change in marine social-ecological systems
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Reef Futures: Exploring the dynamics of transformative change in marine social-ecological systems
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The thesis explores issues relating to transformative change in the context of marine governance in the Coral Triangle, and the effects of such change processes on policy, stakeholder relations and management activities. Paper 1 studies how change-oriented actors (institutional entrepreneurs) operating at the international level can introduce and purposefully navigate large-scalechange processes. Paper 2 studies the impact of resource inequality on multi-stakeholder collaboration, and tackles the literature of boundary work so as to increase its usefulness for understanding complex, multi-level governance initiatives. Paper 3 explores how narratives about the marine environment are entwined with and influence critical aspects of marine ecosystem governance such as resource allocation, day-to-day management actions, stakeholder relations, and long-term ecological monitoring. Paper 4 investigates how actors at the local level can capture opportunities at higher institutional levels while at the same time catalyzing local potential for change by focusing on the interplay between strategies,opportunity and context. The results show that institutional entrepreneurship requires understanding of how strategies can be matched with opportunity and context, for example by offering a way for other actors to address key priorities and add value to their organizations. The results also show that behind the scene organizing is often a precondition for the introduction of transformative change. Shifting the process from an informal track to a formal track where ideas about transformative change can be deliberated among a broader set ofstakeholders is thus a major challenge. Moreover, a strong narrative is key to successfully introducing and driving transformative change. In this sense, the ability to articulate and distribute a narrative which tells a compelling story about the broader system is critical. Finally, power dynamics are constantly at play in transformation processes due to resource asymmetries. The thesis shows that differences in resources may influence the credibility, legitimacy, and salience of transformative change.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, 2014. 47 p.
transformative change, marine governance, multi-stakeholder collaboration, multi-level governance, institutional entrepreneurship, boundary work, narratives, Coral Triangle
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Sustainability Science
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-106540 (URN)978-91-7447-963-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-10-09, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Submitted. Paper 3: In press.

Available from: 2014-09-18 Created: 2014-08-11 Last updated: 2015-10-14Bibliographically approved

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