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Diagnose Complexity in Social-Ecological System: Understanding Irrigation Institutional Changes in Imperial China

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Wang, Yahua
Conference: Sustaining Commons: Sustaining Our Future, the Thirteenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons
Location: Hyderabad, India
Conf. Date: January 10-14
Date: 2011
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/7344
Sector: General & Multiple Resources
Water Resource & Irrigation
Region: East Asia
Subject(s): social-ecological systems
complexity
irrigation
self-organization
Abstract: "Adopting the diagnostic approach that Ostrom (2007) proposed, this paper offers an in-depth explanation of the emergence of irrigation self-organization in Qing China. The paper examine the underlying variables identified by Ostrom (2009) for self-organization with Chinese empirical materials from a history dynamic perspective, and shows that the SES framework is fairly robust as a powerful tool to diagnose the complexity in the social-ecological system. Besides the variables affecting the likelihood of self-organization identified by Ostrom (2009), the variables in contextual settings have been proved to be important such as the population trends, government policies and globalization, which provided initial forces or supporting environment for the development of self-organization in this study. Identifying the complex interactions among the variables is a big task for social scientists and better theories can be developed with the guidance of the SES framework."

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