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From Culture to Cooperation: Insights from an Australian Program of Collaborative Environmental Governance

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Marshall, Graham R.
Conference: Tradition and Globalisation: Critical Issues for the Accommodation of CPRs in the Pacific Region, the Inaugural Pacific Regional Meeting of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Conf. Date: September 2-4, 2001
Date: 2001
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/2182
Sector: Social Organization
Region: Pacific and Australia
Subject(s): IASC
common pool resources
collective action--theory
resource management--case studies
Abstract: "A collaborative vision for environmental governance in Australia whereby collaboration among stakeholders in addressing problems supposedly leads them to cooperate more in implementing solutions emerged in the 1980s. However, accomplishments to date in pursuit of this vision through the favoured organisational vehicle of integrated catchment management have mostly been disappointing. Moreover, the lack of a coherent theory of how collaboration increases cooperativeness has limited the learning that has arisen from the pursuit efforts that have been made. It is proposed in this paper that recent developments in the new-institutional theory of collective action can satisfy this need for theory. An overview of the relevant developments is presented before proceeding to explore how this theory accords with actual experiences within a particular case of collaborative environmental governance. The case involves the Land and Water Management Planning Program in NSWs central-Murray region (centred on Deniliquin) that has continued as a community-government partnership since its establishment in 1991. The applicability of the theory to this setting is explored through qualitative analysis of in-depth interviews with thirty key informants. In reporting the findings from the qualitative analysis, particular attention is paid to the effects of informal elements of local culture such as trust, leadership, social capital and social norms that the theory suggests are vital to explaining how collaborative problem-solving can foster cooperative implementation of solutions."

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