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Reflections on the potential of virtual citizen science platforms to address collective action challenges : Lessons and implications for future research
Leeuwis, Cees ; Cieslik, K.J. ; Aarts, M.N.C. ; Dewulf, A.R.P.J. ; Ludwig, F. ; Werners, S.E. ; Struik, P.C. - \ 2018
NJAS Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences 86-87 (2018). - ISSN 1573-5214 - p. 146 - 157.
Action research - Agricultural development - Citizen science - Collective action - Connective action - Environmental observatories - ICT - Public goods
Rural communities in Africa are facing numerous challenges related to human health, agricultural production, water scarcity and service delivery. Addressing such challenges requires effective collective action and coordination among stakeholders, which often prove difficult to achieve. Against the background of the increased availability of information and communication technologies (ICTs), this article synthesizes the lessons from six case-studies reported in this Special Issue. The cases investigate the possible role of digital citizen science platforms (labelled EVOCAs: Environmental Virtual Observatories for Connective Action) in overcoming the challenges of integrating heterogeneous actors in collective management of common resources and/or the provision of public goods. Inspired by the seminal work of Elinor Ostrom, our expectation was that such platforms could help operationalize communication and information-related design principles and community conditions that are known to enhance the capacity to address environmental challenges. This article presents some cross-cutting insights and reflections regarding the nature of the challenges identified by the diagnostic studies, and on the relevance and significance of Ostrom's framework and analysis. It also reflects on the plausibility of our original ideas and assumptions by assessing what the various studies tell us about the significance and potential of key components of an EVOCA-type intervention: i.e. environmental monitoring, ICT, connective action, citizen science and responsible design. At the same time, we draw lessons for follow-up research and action in our research program and beyond by identifying several issues and themes that merit further investigation. Based on the case-studies, we conclude that many collective action challenges are of a more complex nature than originally anticipated, and often cannot be resolved within clearly demarcated communities. While this complicates the realization of Ostrom's communication and information-related design principles and community features, there may still be a meaningful role for digital citizen science platforms. To help address complex challenges, they must be oriented towards fostering adaptive and systemic learning across interdependent stakeholder communities, rather than focusing on the self-betterment of the communities alone. Such digital platforms need to be developed in a responsible manner that ensures complementarity with already existing patterns of communication and ICT-use, that anticipates dynamics of trust and distrust among interdependent stakeholders, and that prevents typical problems associated with the sharing of information such as privacy infringement and undesirable control over information by outsiders.
Addressing socio-ecological development challenges in the digital age : Exploring the potential of Environmental Virtual Observatories for Connective Action (EVOCA)
Cieslik, K.J. ; Leeuwis, C. ; Dewulf, A.R.P.J. ; Lie, R. ; Werners, S.E. ; Wessel, M. van; Feindt, P. ; Struik, P.C. - \ 2018
NJAS Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences 86-87 (2018). - ISSN 1573-5214 - p. 2 - 11.
Citizen science - Collective action - Connective action - EVOs - ICT4D - Participatory environmental monitoring
Climate change, (a) biotic stresses and environmental degradation are adversely affecting the sustenance of farming communities in Africa. Addressing such challenges requires effective collective action and coordination among stakeholders, which often prove difficult to achieve. Timely and context-specific information on relevant environmental dynamics holds considerable promise to overcome these problems. This paper investigates the role of citizen science in facilitating knowledge co-creation and sharing between academia, development actors and users in developing country contexts. In our approach, we focus on information sharing platforms (known as Environmental Virtual Observatories, EVOs) and their potential to facilitate adaptive decision-making in six rural case-study areas in Africa. We complement the existing theory on EVOs with a focused exploration of the connective function of ICT-enabled multi-stakeholder exchange. We propose that increased connectivity may enable new forms of collective action (labelled ‘connective action’), relevant to addressing socio-ecological challenges. Along these lines, this paper presents the theoretical and conceptual grounding of a research program that aspires to develop Environmental Virtual Observatories for Connective Action (EVOCAs) and to explore their potential for improved crop, water, livestock and disease management in rural Africa.
Playing by the rules? Analysing incremental urban developments
Karnenbeek, Lilian van; Janssen-Jansen, Leonie - \ 2018
Land Use Policy 72 (2018). - ISSN 0264-8377 - p. 402 - 409.
Collective action - Incremental urban development - Institutional change - Rules - Urban planning
Current urban developments are often considered outdated and static, and the argument follows that they should become more adaptive. In this paper, we argue that existing urban development are already adaptive and incremental. Given this flexibility in urban development, understanding changes in the so-called ‘rules of the game’ which structure and change collective action, is increasingly relevant. Gaining such insights advances the ability of planners to deal with perceived spatial problems. The aim of this paper is twofold. First, to develop an analytical framework for scrutinizing changes in rules in incremental urban developments and second, to test the analytical framework in a real-life incremental urban development. Building on Ostrom's IAD Framework we develop an analytical framework that makes a distinction between formal and informal rules, connects sets of rules, actors and interaction patterns and provides a comparative, longitudinal perspective. The case of the Navy Yard in Amsterdam, the Netherlands is used in order to test the framework's application, proving the relevance of investigating how rules in urban development change.
Collective action in a smallholder oil palm production system in Indonesia: The key to sustainable and inclusive smallholder palm oil?
Jelsma, Idsert ; Slingerland, Maja ; Giller, Ken E. ; Bijman, Jos - \ 2017
Journal of Rural Studies 54 (2017). - ISSN 0743-0167 - p. 198 - 210.
Collective action - Indonesia - Intensive agriculture - Oil palm - Smallholders - West-Sumatra
Indonesian smallholder oil palm generally yield much less than corporate plantations. We analysed a smallholder oil palm production system in West Sumatra which outperformed its nucleus estate plantation, consistently producing yields far above the national average for over 25 years. Its institutional setup allowed farmers to combine the advantages of smallholder and plantation agriculture by capitalizing on collective action. Collective action design principles (Ostrom, 1990; Cox, 2010) are used to assess the institutional setup of a smallholder production system. This case study demonstrates that with a strong institutional arrangement, smallholder oil palm farmers can participate in supply chains on advantageous conditions and substantially increase productivity, thereby contributing to both rural development and land sparing.
The collective action on governing the commons in the surroundings of protected areas
Araújo Pereira, Márcio de; Schneider, Sérgio ; Ploeg, Jandouwe van der; Souza, Marcelino de - \ 2016
Ambiente e Sociedade 19 (2016)4. - ISSN 1414-753X - p. 21 - 38.
Collective action - Commons - Protected areas - Socio-ecological systems (SES)
This work has as its theme the common natural resources and the management models that allow new governance systems in the rural areas in the surrounding of protected areas. In this sense, this paper aims to discuss the collective action of social actors in the management of common natural resources in the surroundings of the National Park of Serra da Bodoquena (PNSB). Based on institutional approach for the study of the self-organisation and self-governance in common-pool resources situations developed by Elinor Ostrom, the investigation sought the theoretical explanation of phenomena. The conclusions point out that the expected mobilisation of groups of individuals in the pursuit of common goals is twofold. In this case, the participants of the action arena create different goals and different collective actions according to their interests.