Fragmentation and connection of frames in collaborative water governance: a case study of river catchment management in Southern Ecuador

A. Dewulf, M. Mancero, G. Cárdenas, D. Sucozhañay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


In collaborative water governance, the variety of frames that actors bring to the discussion constitutes an important challenge. In this study, we analyse the fragmentation and connection of frames in collaborative water governance projects in the Paute catchment and its sub-catchment Tabacay in the Southern Andes of Ecuador. We rely on frame analysis of project documents, interviews and meeting recordings to analyse the initial stages of these projects. We discuss (1) the different roles of problem domain framing and issue framing in frame fragmentation; (2) the significance of scale framing to problem domain and issue framing; (3) the challenge of connecting expert frames with frames of other actors; and (4) the importance of face-to-face dialogue for connecting frames. Points for practitioners. Professionals in public management and administration all over the world are increasingly involved in governance processes where they have to deal with a multitude of actors and perspectives. If their task involves setting up collaborative projects with other governmental agencies, civil society organizations and/or business actors, there is much to gain by paying close attention to how they themselves and other actors are framing both the problem domain and the issues involved. In processes of collaborative water governance, additional attention is required for how projects are framed with respect to water system scales and administrative scales, and for how technical framing of the issues connects to the frames and experiences of other actors
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-75
JournalInternational Review of Administrative Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • water management
  • catchment hydrology
  • governance
  • ecuador
  • communities
  • resources
  • conflict
  • issues
  • scale
  • andes

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