Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Some new publications

The following papers have recently appeared or been accepted for publication.

Armitage, D., de Loë, R., Edwards, T., Gerlak, A., Hall, R., Huitema, D., Ison, R., Livingstone, D., MacDonald, G., Mirumachi, N., Morris, M., Plummer, R.,  B. Wolfe (2015) Science-policy processes fortransboundary water governance Ambio (in press).

ABSTRACT: In this policy perspective, we outline several conditions to support effective science-policy interaction, with a particular emphasis on improving water governance in transboundary basins. Key conditions include (1) recognizing that science is a crucial but bounded input into water resource decision-making processes; (2) establishing conditions for collaboration and shared commitment among actors; (3) understanding that social or group-learning processes linked to science-policy interaction are enhanced through greater collaboration; (4) accepting that the collaborative production of knowledge about hydrological issues and associated socioeconomic change and institutional responses is essential to build legitimate decision-making processes; and (5) engaging boundary organizations and informal networks of scientists, policy makers, and civil society. We elaborate on these conditions with a diverse set of international examples drawn from a synthesis of our collective experiences in assessing the opportunities and constraints (including the role of power relations) related to governance for water in transboundary settings. 

Wallis, P., Iaquinto, B., Ison, R.L., Wrigley, R. (2014) Governing irrigation renewal in rural Australia, International Journal of Water Governance 4, 19-36.  

Ison, R.L., Allan, C., Collins, K.B. (2015) Reframing water governance praxis: does reflection on metaphors have a role? Environment & Planning C: Government and Policy (in press)

Ison, R.L., Collins, K.B.,  Wallis, P. (2014) Institutionalising social learning: Towards systemic and adaptive governance, Environmental Science and Policy DOI: 10.1016/j.envsci.2014.11.002 

ABSTRACT This paper critically examines how public policy makers limit policy and other institutional design choices by a failure to appreciate (i) how situations may be characterised or framed; (ii) how practices that generate neologisms (invented terms or concepts) or reify (make into a thing) abstract concepts can displace understandings, and (iii) the epistemological bases of governance mechanism choices. An inquiry into the coining of the neologisms ‘wicked’ and ‘tame’ problems is reported and the implications for research and policy practice explored. As practices, neologising, reifying, categorising and typologising have unintended consequences – they remove us from the primary experiences and underlying emotions that provided the motivation for formulating these concepts in the first place. The failure to institutionalise the understandings and experiences that sit behind the invention of the terms ‘wicked’ and ‘tame’ problems (or similar framing choices such as ‘problematique’, ‘messes’, ‘lowland real-life swamps’, ‘resource dilemmas’ or ‘complex adaptive systems’) present systemic constraints to institutionalising social learning as an alternative yet complementary governance mechanism within an overall systemic and adaptive governance framework. Ultimately situations usefully framed as ‘wicked’,’ such as water managing and climate change are problems of relationship – of human beings with the biosphere. Re-framings, such as institutions as social technologies and other research and praxis traditions concerned with the breakdown of relationships may offer ways forward in the purposeful designing and crafting of more effective institutions.

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