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Understanding Mansagar Lake Governance Using Social-Ecological Systems (SES) Framework

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Bal, Mansee
Conference: Commoners and the Changing Commons: Livelihoods, Environmental Security, and Shared Knowledge, the Fourteenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons
Location: Mt. Fuji, Japan
Conf. Date: June 3-7
Date: 2013
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/8880
Sector: Water Resource & Irrigation
Region: Middle East & South Asia
Subject(s): social-ecological systems
governance and politics
Abstract: "Governing social-ecological systems such as urban lake systems are inherently complex and how to study them is further complicated. Researchers and analysts have taken help of theory or hypotheses or assumption or pre-suppositions to guide the selection of an effective analytical focus. Here the approach taken is to just understand without getting into solving a problem or proving something. The paper is about understanding the current urban lake governance in India using the case of Mansagar lake governance. Researches from sustainability and complexity science believe that selecting appropriate framework of analysis is crucial in understanding complex systems such as urban lake governance. The multi-tier social-ecological systems framework, developed by Elinor Ostrom, is used to analyze the Mansagar lake governance particularly focusing on the collective action of the actors and the ecological performance of Mansagar lake. Mansagar lake is a classic example of complexity and sustainability pertaining to urban lake deterioration, improvement and the linked governance. The SES framework is a nested ontological framework. It is a decomposable system in which the main variables namely, resource systems, resource services and units, governance systems and actors, are unpacked for explanation. The framework allows connecting the causal links of reasoning and harnessing the complexity involved in urban lake governance. The paper hopes to contribute to the current methodological and practical debates on studying complex social-ecological systems such as urban lakes and envisages using the analysis for building a theoretical framework for analysing urban lake governance in India."

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