Publication: Environmental Management
Author(s): James A. Turner, Will Allen, Caroline Fraser, Andrew Fenemor, Akiko Horita, Toni White, Lan Chen, Maggie Atkinson & Michelle Rush
Social learning is a process suited to developing understanding and concerted action to tackle complex resource dilemmas, such as freshwater management. In practice, social learning encounters challenges from shared habits and routines of stakeholders embedded in organisational structures and norms of professional behaviour. A freshwater planning exercise was designed, implemented and evaluated as a social learning process with community groups in two New Zealand catchments. Incorporating participatory reflection enabled the project team to modify social learning design to manage institutional influences hindering progress toward outcomes. Findings emphasise that social learning is underpinned by participants’ changing assumptions about what constitutes the institution of learning itself. Reflecting on these assumptions challenged participants’ expectations about their own and others’ behaviours and roles in freshwater planning.
This research project was informed by this paper from the Wheel of Water project: https://wheelofwater.wordpress.com