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university of tampere: faculty of management: research: research programmes: politics of nature and the environment research group (ponte):
Faculty of ManagementUniversity of TampereSchool of Management
Politics of Nature and the Environment Research Group (PONTE)

Research streams

Reseach in PONTE is organized through three research streams:


Environmental policy and governance

Environmental policy is increasingly implemented and operated within diverse networks of multilevel governance, bringing various actors and multiple scales to the fore. The increasing number of actors, institutions and interests has brought forth the unpredictability, volatility and uncertainty of environmental issues.

The focus of our research is on interpreting the nature of complex environmental policy processes. The core of environmental policy and governance research can be expressed in the form of key questions:

  • How do environmental conflicts and controversies build up?
  • Who are the key actors and what is the action space of different actors and stakeholders in environmental conflicts?
  • How are meanings and their representations constructed and enacted in a specific contexts?
  • How do the processes of globalization and localization frame policy problems and thus influence legitimacy, power dynamics and democracy in the practical implementation of environmental policy?
  • What are the forms and fundaments of environmental and ecological citizenship?

Politics of nature

Politics of nature means that nature is always entangled in human activities. We focus on reciprocal interactions between control of nature and the choices opening up for human living and livelihood. This framework enables us to use various scales and conceptual tools when approaching the critical issues of resource use, biodiversity, ecosystem services, nature conservation, and biospheric dependence.

We analyze both stabilization of policy fields and the emergence of new possibilities for action from different origins; for instance, novel natures in cities and other human-modified environments is one of our interests. In our collaborative research projects we use ecology both as a free-standing science and as a practical tool of knowing natures in multidisciplinary ways.

Research aspects of politics of nature:

  • How is nature modified to make it governable?
  • Why is scale important in ecosocial dynamics and policy making?
  • Where do expertise and collaboration lie in knowing and managing natures?
  • How should we understand the position of nature in normative thinking and the related genealogies of ecosystem services, biodiversity conservation and resource policies?
  • Who or what are the mediators of cultures, practices and novelties in resource use, biodiversity conservation and urban green governance?
  • How to find and develop policy alternatives in nature conservation in specific contexts of conflict, collaboration and capacity building?


Politics of knowledge and social learning

We understand knowledge as situated and locally produced in specific socio-cultural and material circumstances. We aim to understand how knowledge claims and controversies over the validity of different types of knowledge, not only scientific but also local and experiential, shape environmental policy-making.

Social learning, in turn, is used by us to conceptualize the logic through which interaction promotes self-sustaining positive loops in policy-making and governance processes, enabling the creation of novel policy horizons. Social learning takes as its key parameter not only knowledge, but institutions and discursive closures structuring policy-making processes.

In this research stream, we examine questions such as:

  • What is the relationship and blurring of boundaries between different types of knowledge in specific environmental issues and political processes?
  • How knowledge is represented in and translated into different contexts?
  • How knowledge production and social learning practices engage different actors, human and non-human?
  • What is the role of expertise in the production and communication of knowledge?
  • What are conditions and potentials of social learning in governance processes?
     

 
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Last update: 7.5.2014 11.22 Muokkaa

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