Community dynamics in natural resource governance: building adaptive management capacity towards ecological sustainability

Meilasari-Sugiana, Astrid (2010) Community dynamics in natural resource governance: building adaptive management capacity towards ecological sustainability. Doctoral (S3) thesis, The University of Melbourne.

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The aim of the research was to analyze community dynamics and collective action for sustainable natural resource governance in decentralized Indonesia. The research was an ethno-methodology research in which in-depth interview and participant observation were used for data collection. Data analysis was carried out by examining the distribution of narratives provided by the respondents, and by carrying out a thematic analysis in which emerging themes were used to produce a complex and coherent narrative of the discourse found within the case study site. The research aims to explore the various practices of natural resource governance and the complex social relations which influence collective action for the sustainable governance of natural resources. Natural resource governance in modern Indonesia is marked by the tension between the centralized policy strategy of the Suharto period and the reactive strategy of Post-Suharto decentralization. To some extent, decentralization led to devolution of power and opportunities for local resource users to make consequential decisions over the natural resources upon which they depend. Nonetheless, this approach rested upon the capacity of communities to reach a consensus untainted by local politics, commercial imperatives and traditional power structures. Moreover, decentralization had not given the majority to strategic and structural decision making power. Empirical findings from Tongke Tongke’s mangroves in Sinjai, South Sulawesi suggest that social institutions and local rules came into play and the people honored to protect the resource on behalf of the community. These social institutions took the form of neighborly ties, collective identity, reciprocity and social and ecological responsibilities. Tongke Tongke’s mangroves was not free access but governed by local and informal rules to maintain its benefits for the good of the community. The community, through the elders, was determining access and making decisions about management on behalf of them all. Community members acted in a way that benefited the overall good even when they were avowing individual rights. The thesis argued that individuals evolved behavior which commensurate with their responsibilities, leading to innovative power structures which were more locally sensitive and environmentally appropriate. The case study in the village of Tongke Tongke within the Regency of Sinjai suggested a rebuttal of Hardin’s Tragedy of the Commons. In line with Ostrom’s theory, the commons is governed by local and often informal rules which induce behavior that are in line with a collaborative mentality to maintain its benefits for the good of the community. Nonetheless, as suggested by Bookchin and argued in the thesis, collective natural resource governance is also about individuals who comply and resist in shaping civic collaboration and ecological sustainability. In addition, barriers and enablers for sustainable natural resource governance need to emerge from local contexts; they could not emerge as a consequence of top down devolution alone. Moreover, no preparation of local communities could be made to assume the unintentional consequences of complex power relations. In line with Etzioni’s theory, empirical findings suggest that real power relationships in real resource management contexts can undermine the possibility of democratic and equitable consensus making. Nonetheless, the thesis argued that social reciprocity, identity validation and symbolic capital can motivate resource users to behave in line with a collaborative mentality for mangrove protection.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (S3))
Subjects: Environmental Science and Technology > Environmental Management System Analysis
Divisions: Fakultas Ekonomi dan Ilmu Sosial > Program Studi Ilmu Politik
Depositing User: Ahmad Yani
Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2022 07:14
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2022 07:14

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