The role of research in conflict over natural resources. Experiences from the ‘Competing Claims’ programme in Mozambique

C. Leeuwis, J.M. Milgroom

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

‘Complex’ problem situations are characterised by conflicting societal values and interests and high levels of uncertainty about agro-ecological and/or social dynamics. We are continuously confronted with such contexts, e.g. in the sphere of natural resource management, agricultural chains and rural development. In complex problem solving situations outcomes are shaped eventually by negotiation processes among stakeholders. The quality of such negotiations is often far from optimal in terms of equitability, bargaining power, representation and compatibility of argumentation skills. Moreover, availability of and/or access to knowledge and validated information about interrelations and dynamics in complex systems is often lacking. Implicit to ideas such as ‘post normal science’ and ‘mode 2 science’ is the assumption that scientists have something to offer that may improve the quality of such negotiations. In terms of theories about conflict management, one could say the assumption is that scientists may contribute to shifting negotiations from being ‘distributive’ (i.e. dividing a cake on the basis of existing power balances), to being ‘integrative’ (i.e. baking a new cake on the basis of exchange of perspectives, joint exploration, collaborative research. Based on a number of observations on how knowledge is used and mobilised in social interaction, this presentation will identify a number of reasons to be sceptical about such expectations, but also point to opportunities and ways in which impacts may indeed be realised. These issues will be discussed against the background of the recently started interdisciplinary action research programme ‘Competing Claims for Natural Resources’ in Southern Africa. Keywords: conflict, action research, negotiation, complex problems
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 9th European IFSA Symposium, 4-7 July 2010, Vienna, Austria
EditorsI. Darnhofer, M. Grötzer
Place of PublicationVienna
PublisherIFSA Europe
Pages510-516
ISBN (Print)9783200019089
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Event9th European IFSA Symposium, Vienna, Austria -
Duration: 4 Jul 20107 Jul 2010

Conference

Conference9th European IFSA Symposium, Vienna, Austria
Period4/07/107/07/10

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    Leeuwis, C., & Milgroom, J. M. (2010). The role of research in conflict over natural resources. Experiences from the ‘Competing Claims’ programme in Mozambique. In I. Darnhofer, & M. Grötzer (Eds.), Proceedings of the 9th European IFSA Symposium, 4-7 July 2010, Vienna, Austria (pp. 510-516). IFSA Europe.