International Institute for Innovation in Governance

Small-scale fisheries within maritime spatial planning

The coasts hold great potential for ‘Blue Growth’, and major industrial and infrastructural developments are already happening there. Such growth, however, comes with risks to marine ecosystems and coastal communities. Competition for space and resources intensifies, turning the coast into an area of social and political conflict, including contestation about knowledge. This paper argues that there is a need for institutional innovation that allows knowledge integration and conflict resolution to be more interactive and synergistic. The paper critically analyses discourses and practices of interactive governance and co-management while visiting Foucault’s power/knowledge concept for investigating the normativity and effects of participation discourses and practices. This is followed by a discussion of multiple governance paths and their different combinations of resources and forms of expert and local social and ecological knowledge so as to see how they can help resolve conflicts, and enhance governability within maritime spatial planning (MSP) in a way that also serves to create a level playing field for all stakeholders. A particular focus will be on the small-scale fisheries sector, which is the lest powerful stakeholder and the most vulnerable to external pressures. Will MSP help to empower or further marginalize small-scale fishers and fisheries communities?

Jentoft, S. (2017). Small-scale fisheries within maritime spatial planning: knowledge integration and power. Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning, 1-13.


A community survival guide to turbulent times


IN PLANNING has published a new book by Kristof Van Assche et al, a community survival guide to turbulent times. The book presents a wide range of planning strategies communities can use to deal with uncertain futures and to adapt to ever changing boom and bust cycles in the local economy. The book offers an interesting read for planning and governance scholars, students, and professionals, as well as all those who are in some way involved in community development and planning. It describes the struggles that many communities in western Canada are going to, the challenges they face, and many enlightening examples. Furthermore it offers theoretical reflections on the diversity of strategies and practices, as well as practical recommendation on how to develop context-sensitive strategies.

And the best thing: the e-book is freely available.


The choice of conservation measures for Natura 2000 sites

Natura 2000 (N2K) is a European network of protected areas that has grown out of the implementation of the Birds Directive (1979) and the Habitats Directive (1992). To date, the literature focussing on “conservation measures” required by the directives has been scarce. This article contributes to a better understanding of associated practices with regard to these measures in the case of France.

This paper puts forward a quantitative approach based on 1378 “action-sheets” randomly extracted from 113 management documents of French Natura 2000 coastal sites. These action-sheets are considered to be the physical embodiment of the notion of the conservation measure itself. The analysis concentrates on the “type” of the proposed measures, expressed in terms of a 9-category public policy instrument typology.

In terms of frequency of quotation, the paper shows the specific expected importance of three instruments: the work of Natura 2000 project managers, ecological/civil engineering, and data production. Awareness-raising is the main expected means to the end of countering harmful practices and detrimental behaviours.

The paper then proposes an exploratory analysis of contextual variables explaining the choice of the type of measure, with an AIC-based procedure of model selection and averaging. The interest of this approach is exemplified by a focus on five explanatory variables reflecting the kind of natural habitats concerned by the measures.

The results show the specificity of instruments associated with coastal habitats. In particular, whereas coastal terrestrial habitats are statistically managed by physical measures (physical regulation and engineering), methods for managing coastal marine habitats are geared towards, on the one hand, awareness raising and participatory approaches, and on the other, regulatory approaches and an integration of Natura 2000 objectives into exogenous institutional frameworks.

Duhalde, M., Levrel, H., & Guyader, O. (2017). Is the choice of conservation measures influenced by the targeted natural habitats? The case of French coastal Natura 2000 sites. Ocean & Coastal Management, 142, 15-27.

Furthering the insights on institutional work

Several papers for the special issue on Institutional Work in Environmental Governance have been presented and discussed during a symposium on Learning and Innovation in Resilient Systems at the Open University in the Netherland. The discussions showed that the concept offers exciting new possibilities to link different approaches and disciplines and furher our understanding of the interplay between actors and institutional structures and the dialectics between stability and flexibility in governance. The link with various important concepts like narratives, power, reflection and learning were extensively discussed during the discussions amongst the presentors and the other participants of the session. The outcomes of these discussions will be brought together in the special issue, upcoming in the Journal of Environmental Planning and Management.

Partnerships for development in the extractive sector

Partnerships for Development (PfD) is the antidote that extractive industries have used over the last decade to counteract the proliferation of conflicts with local communities. Normatively, the concept of ‘partnership’ positions companies as actors on an equal footing with others in their attempts to collaborate to achieve development outcomes. This article analyses how the PfD strategy has been crafted and implemented in the extractive sector and assess its potential to contribute significantly to local development. Using the Foucauldian framework on power/knowledge and genealogy, we explain how, in a relatively short time, the interaction between context, preexisting discourses, and actors’ interests shaped the PfD discourse and made it famous. The second part of the paper goes beyond the normative conceptualisation and analyses the implementation of PfD through the case studies of the Antamina copper mine in Peru and the Pacific Rubiales oil operation in Colombia. The companies use the PfD discourse to advance their interest vis-à-vis the different stakeholders, minimising the risk of conflicts and cultivating their reputation. These companies resort to the fragmentation of bargaining spaces and rely on the legitimacy provided by paid experts. The result is that PfD has limited capacity to promote local sustainable development.

This paper is part of a forthcoming special issue in the Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning on power/knowledge in natural resource management

Arellano-Yanguas J. & del Pilar Bernal-Gómez, M. (2017) Partnerships for development in the extractive sector: protecting subterranean interests? Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning.

A typology of material events

Many of contemporary issues, like urban development, climate change, biodiversity conservation, or food security, demand for interdisciplinary approaches that bring together scientist with different ideas about reality and the nature of knowledge. Whereas some focus on the material reality of our world, other focus on the social structures through which humans construct an understanding of that world. This paper presents a framework for going beyond the traditional dichotomy between discourse and materiality. Drawing on the work of one of the most influential sociologists, Niklas Luhmann, it explores the different ways in which materiality can relate to discursive dynamics. Five different events are distinguished: silent, whispering, vigorous, fading and deadly events. These events constitute the spectrum in which changes in the environment affect communication and action. This typology helps to better understand the diversity of societal responses to an ever changing environment.

Duineveld, M., Van Assche, K., & Beunen, R. (2017). Re-conceptualising political landscapes after the material turn: a typology of material events. Landscape Research, 1-10.

Sherlock Symposium. On the semiotics of space and place

The politics of space and place

march 16 | 15.30 | Wageningen University, Forum Building, VIP room (031)

Martijn Duineveld: Wanna be Sherlock? | Kevin Raaphorst: Semiotic (un)predictability and the politics of landscape design representations | Alexandra Rijke: Walls and their openings – where occupier and occupied meet. | Kristof Van Assche: Americana. Planning in the USA in 15 pictures

Organised by: The Wageningen Politics of Space and Place network:


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How to Create Trust and Connection in Learning for Transformation in Water Governance

Trust is often seen as an important element in settings of knowledge sharing and the co-creation of knowledge for dealing with transformations in water governance. However, seemingly similar conversations during a co-creation workshop in Uppsala resulted in both trust and distrust, and thereby influenced consequent possibilities for the co-creation of knowledge. Therefore, this article focuses on how trust influences knowledge sharing and how knowledge sharing influences trust. We use a case study approach to analyze the Uppsala co-creation workshop—part of the Climate Change Adaptation and Water Governance (CADWAGO) project—by comparing 25 conversations, making use of theories on swift trust and trust dynamics. We found four different conversation patterns (1) sending; (2) defending; (3) misunderstanding; and (4) connecting. The first three patterns influenced trust negatively and did not lead to knowledge sharing, whereas pattern four showed trust development and co-creation of knowledge. From our comparative analyses, we conclude that trust starts to emerge when there is mutual openness and empathy visible in turn-taking patterns. More specifically, trust emerges when communication styles allow for recognition and exploring underlying needs and wishes, resulting in a more dynamic dialogue, further trust development, and connection between actors. Our list of conversation patterns is provisional but we argue that understanding how different kinds of interactions can lead to trust or distrust is crucial to understanding why and how learning takes place—insights that are essential for fostering learning and transformations in water governance.

Jasper R. de Vries, Séverine van Bommel, Chris Blackmore and Yoshiko Asano (2017) Where There Is No History: How to Create Trust and Connection in Learning for Transformation in Water Governance. Water 2017, 9(2), 130; doi: 10.3390/w9020130



Evolutionary theory of social enterprise

Social Entrepreneurship has developed in different ways across Europe. These studies present a novel perspective on social entrepreneurship which explains these differences, taking into account the history and trends of Social Entrepreneurship, the different operational and organisational forms, the role of communities, cultures and tradition, the role of social innovation, the role of the dialogue between the State and Citizens on Social Inclusion and how social entrepreneurship and institutions co-evolved during time.

Download the reports from the Enabling the Flourishing and Evolution of Social Entrepreneurship project here:



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