Participation in the Context of Ecological Economics

Authored by: Kirsty L. Blackstock

Routledge Handbook of Ecological Economics

Print publication date:  April  2017
Online publication date:  April  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138931510
eBook ISBN: 9781315679747
Adobe ISBN: 9781317395102


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Ecological economics is the study of interactions between human societies and the ecosystems in which human activities are embedded. Spash (2011) has emphasised the need to raise the profile of the human aspect and refers to social ecological economics. Therefore, understanding how individuals and social groups participate in the decisions that affect social ecological systems is central. Participation seems intuitively simple, but is loosely defined in academic literature; resulting in many different understandings. I define participation as the process of actively involving anyone who might affect, or be affected by, a process or decision [see also Chapter 50]. It is doing research with, rather than about, the population in question. Understanding participation means considering the processes by which people participate, and the consequences of their participation (Creighton, 2005). Thinking about participation helps to prevent the ecological economist from taking the stance of an objective observer ‘outside’ their study. Instead they are a participant within the research process, where their own positions and subjectivities matter.

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