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Deliberative democracy and co-management of natural resources: snowmobile regulation in western Sweden
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science. (Arcum)
2010 (English)In: International Journal of the Commons, ISSN 1875-0281, E-ISSN 1875-0281, Vol. 4, no 1, 273-292 p.Article in journal (Other academic) Published
Abstract [en]

Deliberation is an understudied aspect of co-management institutions and common pool theory that can be improved by a closer connection to deliberative democratic theory. Analyses of co-management arrangements provide needed empirical insights to deliberative democratic theory, although such arrangements are group-based and not readily accepted as examples of deliberative democracy. A framework is developed to analyze to what degree co-management arrangements incorporate deliberative elements and how they contribute to improved decision-making. To test its usefulness, a case study of a co-management process in Sweden is analyzed. In Funäsdalsfjällen, a mountainous area of western Sweden, a conflict-ridden situation caused by expanded use of snowmobiles eventually led to the establishment of a municipal regulation area. Central and regional authorities initially failed to resolve the conflict, but when they started working directly with the municipality and relevant interest groups, agreement was reached. Deliberative elements are shown to have been central to the success of the co-management process, and it is concluded that co-management and deliberative democratic approaches cross-fertilize one another.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
The International Association for the Study of Commons (IASC) , 2010. Vol. 4, no 1, 273-292 p.
Keyword [en]
accountability, co-management, deliberation, deliberative democracy, mountain commons, snowmobiling, Sweden
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-30147DOI: 10.18352/ijc.116OAI: diva2:280244

This paper was awarded "Best Ph.D. Student Paper" at the 12th International Symposium on Society and Natural Resources (ISSRM) in Vancouver, Canada, 2006.

Available from: 2009-12-09 Created: 2009-12-09 Last updated: 2016-09-01Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Commons protected for or from the people?: Co-management in the Swedish mountain region?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Commons protected for or from the people?: Co-management in the Swedish mountain region?
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Protected areas have so far been the primary means to conserve biodiversity, an increasingly important environmental issue, but proposals to establish protected areas are often met by local resistance due to fears that user rights will be severely restrained. Nature conservation traditionally aims to preserve an ideal state of nature, in which interference by people is minimized through a number of regulations, and where central authorities are in charge. Increasingly, however, conservation policy emphasizes participation. Protected area designations are about institutional change where customary and legal rights to use and manage certain resources are renegotiated. Protected areas can be considered as multi-use and multi-level commons that may benefit from co-management where the state cooperates with user groups, municipalities, research institutions and others.

This thesis analyzes the establishment phase of the co-management of multi-level, multi-use commons in order to characterize design principles common to the emergence of co-management processes which improve institutional robustness.

The thesis is based on a quantitative survey study and a small-n comparative case study. Paper I compares national, regional and local public opinions about protected areas through a multi-level survey. Papers II to IV each presents a case study of a designation process within the Swedish mountain region. The qualitative case studies are based on the structured, focused comparison method and employ within-case analysis and process-tracing. The material examined consisted of written documenta­tion and 41 semi-structured interviews.

The two studies contribute to commons theory; the focus on the establishment phase provides opportunities to acquire abundant information about how contextual and process factors influence the functioning of a co-management arrangement. Paper I suggests that national public opinion is an important contextual variable for natural resources of national interest, and shows that 65% of the Swedish population support local or co-management of protected areas. Papers II to IV reveal that the rigidity of the existing institutional framework is another important contextual variable that influences the degree of learning taking place. Further, the comparative analysis proposes that certain characteristics of a process (the co-management process principles) are essential for the realization of co-management arrangements of multi-level and multi-use commons. The principles are representation, reason(ableness), powers, accountability and learning.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Statsvetenskapliga institutionen, Umeå universitet, 2009. 67 p.
Statsvetenskapliga institutionens skriftserie, ISSN 0349-0831 ; 2009:3
commons, co-management, governance, multi-level survey, deliberation, accountability, conflict resolution mechanisms, learning
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-30150 (URN)978-91-7264-889-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2010-01-22, Samhällsvetarhuset, Hörsal C, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 13:15 (Swedish)
Available from: 2009-12-18 Created: 2009-12-09 Last updated: 2009-12-18Bibliographically approved

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