Normalizing Resilience in Global Environmental Governance

Authors: Kate Haapala*, Purdue University
Topics: Environment, Cultural and Political Ecology
Keywords: Resilience studies, collaborative event ethnography, global environmental governance
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 2:40 PM / 4:20 PM
Room: Bayside B, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The relationship between science and policy has changed in dramatic ways over the course of the last few decades, but only recently have resilience frameworks for analyzing the vulnerability of social-ecological systems entered the science-policy debate. Less attention is currently given to the ways in which the concepts found in the scientific resilience framework are deployed by epistemic communities that engage this particular scientific discourse at sites of global environmental governance. Using data collected at the 2016 World Conservation Congress through the use of collaborative event ethnography, this paper examines the politics surrounding different forms of knowledge and their perceived legitimacy in global environmental politics to ask what is the discursive landscape surrounding the resilience discourse the Congress? And, what are its broader implications for global environmental politics? The resilience discourse was most often engaged by scientific experts, and I argue that the discourse is used as a tool to enroll support for particular conservation programs and as a means to coordinate global environmental policy outcomes. One implication of this discourse is its ability to narrow the potential range of policy solutions by creating new frameworks to approaching policy implementation. Given the application of resilience frameworks to multiple scales of conservation governance, a dialogue regarding the discourse and individuals engaged within this policy process is both timely and needed.

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