Knowledge from Data, Knowledge from Doing: The Inclusionary Production of Environmental Knowledge for Management
Environmental science, regulation, and management have experienced an inclusionary turn, with wider circles of stakeholders engaged in constructing knowledge about social-ecological systems. Yet research into the inclusionary production of environmental knowledge (“I.P.E.K.”) tends to treat all knowledge-making endeavors as scientifically motivated, when in fact other epistemic aims govern the production of environmental knowledge for regulation or management. This study parses out the inclusionary production of environmental knowledge for management as a phenomenon worthy of study without recourse to the epistemic aims of science. Drawing on three cases of locally based and small-scale urban environmental management practices (often referred to as “stewardship” or “civic ecology”), this exploratory qualitative study sheds new light on two forms of inclusionary knowledge production within these practices. The first form resembles adaptive co-management initiatives that rely on the collection of surveillance or monitoring data to inform adaptations in practice. This study finds a three-part division of labor in making data collection a part of practice, comprised of: Tool Patrons, who sponsor the creation of new data collection tools, technologies, and protocols; Tool Makers, who construct data protocols and technologies outside of daily practice; and Tool Users—the practitioners who must weave data collection initiatives into their work together. This division of labor creates both opportunities and challenges for incorporating data collection into practice as a means of making useful environmental knowledge for management. The second form reframes civic ecology and stewardship practices as contemporary urban analogues to traditional subsistence societies and looks at knowledge produced tacitly within these practices in similar terms. A preliminary exploration of tacit knowledge making and management within civic ecology and stewardship practices suggests that practitioners do construct knowledge together as a feature of practice and encode their insights in story. While practitioners reach to find knowledge from sources outside of practice, not all new insights are readily incorporated into practice. Finally, the tendency to rely on transient forms of volunteer or seasonal staff labor in stewardship and civic ecology practices may create challenges for both managing the knowledge created in practice and retaining volunteers.
Urban Ecology; Social research; Natural resource management; Citizen Science; Civic Ecology; Environmental Stewardship; Participatory Research
Krasny, Marianne E
Lewenstein, Bruce V; Leuenberger-Pinch, Christine A; Maddox, David
Ph. D., Natural Resources
Doctor of Philosophy
dissertation or thesis