Spatial Frames and the Quest for Institutional Fit

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


Spatial frames play a crucial role in debates over environmental sustainability. Building on a social scientific understanding of space, we discuss key spatial frames in biodiversity and ecosystem management, including territory, social-ecological systems, global networks and flows, and sense of place. In evaluating these frames, we argue that the state with its territorial power has clear limitations in effectively and legitimately addressing ecosystem problems, even when it remains a crucial power-container and regulator. Adapting institutional arrangements to ecosystem scale, as advocates of social-ecological systems propose, is often inappropriate because of cross-scale socio-political dynamics. Given the importance of global flows, we argue that place-based or landscape approaches that bring together local ecosystem management and global value chains present an ambivalent, but highly relevant spatial framing.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEnvironment and Society
Subtitle of host publicationConcepts and Challenges
EditorsMagnus Boström, Debra J. Davidson
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISBN (Electronic)9783319764153
ISBN (Print)9783319764146
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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