) pointed out, there are no panaceas, no universal solutions to problems of the overuse or destruction of natural resources. From our case studies, we conclude that there is no one-size fits all approach that can be taken when applying marine management strategies at a local level, especially when aiming to shape an equitable and sustainable social-ecological system. Although there are external factors which influence the success of new maritime industries and conservation and management strategies, this research shows that the resources invested in understanding the variety of world-views within and amongst communities, and being able to communicate across the variety when designing these strategies, developing new industries or conserving biodiversity can reduce conflict, create efficiencies and make reaching the goal of equitable development and management of marine space more likely.
6.1. Analytical Framework
Although there are no management panaceas, there are analytical frameworks that can be applied across diverse case studies. Our framework was influenced by Ostrom
) and McGinnis and Ostrom
), but it is better seen as a simplification of the CATWOE checklist of soft systems methodology (Checkland 1999
), with the main analysis categories being ‘world-view’, ‘actors’, ‘transformations’ and ‘environment’. The ‘transformations’ were those within the social-ecological systems that we studied, while the ‘environment’ refers to the factors, external to the SES, that constrained the transformation. Actors were persons, with their agency influenced by their world-views. Prompted by the need (Hart and Paucar-Caceres 2014
) for a second-order critique of action research, we briefly reflect, here, on our adaption of CATWOE as an analytical framework for change in SES.
As conceived by Checkland, Soft Systems Theory (SST) “regards [a] system as epistemological concept which is subjectively constructed by people rather the objective entities in the world” (Yan and Yan 2010
). Furthermore, the CATWOE framework, which is part of the methods provided by SST, can have many realizations for any given instance, because it is intended more as a set of questions to provoke discussion of complex and perhaps ‘wicked’ problems than as a constraining analytical framework.
We have used the modified framework more in the manner of the framework of Ostrom
) for analysing a social–ecological system (SES). We accept that our categories are constructs, ways of interpreting complex information about the varied behaviour of people and natural ecosystems, and that we have privileged the role of the authors, as externally placed observers as well as participants, in deciding what to include in each category. Nevertheless, the modified framework has proven fruitful applied in this way, for example in distinguishing between transformations that could be owned and steered locally with those over which external constraints (the SES environment) held too great a sway.
Our interpretation of SES starts from their definition as a ‘linked systems of people and nature’ (Berkes and Folke 1998
), or as ‘human-environment systems’ (Ostrom 2007
), and the ontological realistic (Moon and Blackman 2014
) view that at a minimum a SES is a spatio-temporally bounded site of interaction within and between biophysical processes and information communication processes. It is tempting to refer to the biophysical processes as ‘nature’ and the communication processes as ‘society’, but, as Latour
) has argued, these are constructed and hegemonistic labels. In the Barra case study, for example, we have observed the clash between two different constructions of ‘nature’: that of the local fishermen and that of the governmental agency charged with conserving bio-diversity. We theorize these different constructions in two ways: as part of the world-views of actors, and as part of the institutional ‘programme’ (Luhmann 1989
) of the conservation agency, which we have assigned to the environment of the SES transformation.
In the CATWOE checklist, the environment is that of the transformation. For example, in their application of CATWOE to the effects of copper mining in southern Peru, Hart and Paucar-Caceres
) characterise the desired transformation as “contaminated water to uncontaminated water” and the environment in which this takes place as that of “general mistrust; uninterested; ignorance/lack of information; corruption; different cultural values from different strata of society; personal/corporate interests”. In our case studies we have observed that what might initially be seen as a simple transformation, for example from one form of biophysical energy (in waves) to another (in electricity), in fact required, or led to, wider changes in the SES. Therefore, what Hart and Paucar-Caceres describe as part of the transformational environment, we ascribe in part to World-Views and in part to the penetration of the local system and lifeworld by the media-steered interests of the institutional systems (Habermas 1987
) of external Society; i.e., to the environment component of our analysis.
As a checklist, CATWOE suggests three categories of actors: the actors who ‘do’ the transformation; the owners, who can stop it; and the customers, who benefit or suffer from it. For our analysis we have combined these into the single category of Actor, on the grounds that these are roles that depend on what is identified, in the narrow sense, as the transformation, and that all these roles are linked causally or consequentially into change in the SES of which they are part (unless they are fully steered by systems in the SES Environment).
The actor-network theory (Latour 2005
) presents a view of SES in which the non-human actors (for example, the scallops of St Brieuc bay in the analysis of (Callon 1986
)) have as critical a role as the human actors. Our analysis differs, in that we identify as Actors only those with agency, i.e., with the conscious power of choice, because the Transformation at the heart of the analysis is in principle willed (O’Brien 2012
). It is designed and desired by some Actors, perhaps opposed by others, even if what comes to pass is different from what either group wished. Scallops (in our view) cannot be said to have a world-view, because that requires the ability to explain why the world is the way it is and to envisage how it should be; it is the differences in world-views amongst actors that we have used to explain both the problem situations in each case study and the possibilities for resolving those problems through change in the linked biophysical-communicative system that is a SES.
This framework was able to hold and compare the key matters from each of our case studies, dealing with the designation of a mSAC off the coast of Barra, the role of agents for change in encouraging a wave energy capture industry on Lewis, and the exchange of knowledge between academic scientists and the renewable energy industry in Scotland. Our analysis under this framework shows that there is a disconnect, or a rift between the world-views of the entities involved in tackling global environmental challenges on a local scale. This causes conflict (Barra), missed opportunities (Lewis), and unnecessary iterative processes and delays (Academia). These are human-environmental issues (bound up in biophysical regulation and science findings), making it the responsibility and the role of the humanities to identify, describe and where possible, suggest pathways for improvement, as this paper attempts to do.
Understanding what lies outside the SeS as its ‘environment’ is helpful. In a maritime community threatened by rising sea-levels that would be the biophysical environment. In our cases the Environment has been the institutional media-steered subsystems of the larger society: the power-steered governance subsystem in the case of the Barra mSAC; the money-steered, market-oriented subsystem responsible for investment in the case of the potential exploitation of wave energy on Lewis; and the paradigms of the research funding agencies in the Academia case study. Defining the environments within each case study as social rather than biophysical allows us to see that they are a set of systems created and or designed by a group of actors with their own world-views and lifeworlds. It also allows us to see that scale and power are important factors when exploring marine resource governance, particularly at a local level. As such, taking into the account the environment of the SeS is not only essential to understanding external processes and pressures, but also for understanding how transformations are created and managed in the SeS.
In all of our case studies, the environment impacted the actions and interactions in our communities of interest. On Lewis, the wicked problem of finance, policy, grid, and technology framed the outcomes of the actions that the AfC were taking. It meant that their efforts at a local level were circumvented by the scale and impersonal character of energy policy and markets. On Barra the Environment provoked key people within the local community and key civil servants within the policy environment to action and produced changes in conduct and processes related to managing the mSAC. Although still ongoing, these changes are likely to frame the implementation of other mSACs (Brennan forthcoming
). Within the academic case study, the environment imposed contradictory challenges on the academic, industry and regulatory actors, on the one hand requiring certainty and speed for industrial development and its regulation, on the other hand, imposing delays through requirements for scientific rigour.
6.3. Transformation and Actors
Transformation, within the context of marine resource management, is best understood as a total reconfiguration in the SeS under consideration rather than a simple alteration in a few components. By using our adapted CATWOE framework, we are able to reflect on the complexities of the entities involved in the attempted transformations in our three case studies, including human relationships and world views. These transformations can be described as is a shift (or attempted shift) in world-view and/or environment, purposefully designed (AfC), emergent (Barra), or a mix of both (academia), where actors are intrinsic to the change, but where the change has implications which ripple out to wider society. If fully adopted, these changes become part of the SES, and where they are successful, they are embedded in society through cultural attachment (Devine-Wright 2011b
) and individual identity (Illeris 2017
Social change was famously conceptualized and described by Lewin’s three stage model19
). However, change and transformation leadership literature has expanded on this to include the motivations of the actors involved (French and Raven 1959
; Kotter 1995
; Bass and Steidlmeier 1999
). These issues continue to feature in today’s debate. They are becoming more prominent within climate change research as it is evident that international and national policies often ignore or even create inequitable or ineffective actions (O’Brien et al. 2012
). A key component of inequality and ineffectiveness is the lack of diversity in types of knowledge caused by limited or superficial interactions with and across stakeholders (Thomas and Twyman 2005
; Armitage et al. 2008
In the Barra case, actors within governance and locally were able to recognize that they weren’t progressing because of different relationships to and conceptualisations of the marine space and the mSAC. Key actors within the policy arena and local Barra community chose to take the risk of stepping out of their familiar roles and into an unknown space where a different, unscripted dialogue started to emerge. Similarly, the actors in the Academia case study were starting to address their knowledge barriers by employing knowledge exchange staff, with the aim of bridging the expectation gaps between industry, academia and government. This was not the case for Lewis, however, where the large scale and impersonal character of the system that they were trying to influence (e.g., energy markets) did not recognize their ‘grassroots’ efforts or the need for communication across scales. This evidence from our case studies shows that, although there has been a wider dialogue leading to a general global consensus that marine resources need more effective management, the application of such policies does not necessarily translate into changes which are better, acceptable or equitable on a local scale. Further, they show that it takes an understanding of the underlying world-views and implict epistemologies of the actors involved in the change to find out why these measures are stalling.
The idea of ‘world-view’ is the concept around which this paper turns. An individual’s conscious world-view emerges from values that may rarely be reflected on, and from language and culture; i.e., they are embedded in what Habermas
) called the lifeworld that is continuously reproduced by acts of social communication. In modern societies, lifeworlds are impacted (Habermas 1987
) by larger-scale institutions, including those of the market and of governance, and in one of our examples, by that of academia. Thus, while every person will differ in their views and priorities, so that some lead change and some lead opposition, whilst others follow these leaders, we can properly speak of community and institutional world-views which provide the framework or set of constraints within which individuals act. Mostly, their actions cause the framework to be reproduced, but sometimes they change it—as exemplified in our Barra case study. Understanding that actors, engaged with the sort of issues reported here, can differ in their world-views as collectives and as individuals, and finding mechanisms for accommodating those differences, would, we think, be a beneficial change for environmental governance. The need for such change has been recognized in the ‘multi-actor approach’—where public value is created separately by communities, public authorities and industry, but would benefit from co-production of value across these actors (Bryson et al. 2016
), co-production of knowledge by many actors (Nowotny et al. 2003
), within the conditions needed for a development to gain ‘social licence to operate’ (SLO) (Prno 2013
). The SLO framework advises that in order for a company/organisation to develop or use resources, particularly those in rural areas, which has a social cost (e.g., creates noise, pollution, traffic, limits public use of space etc.) they need to gain the trust and co-operation of the communities that are host to it in order for it to be considered socially acceptable. Meaningful integrating local knowledge in plans for resource use has been shown to increase the likelihood of SLO (Moffat and Zhang 2014
). Keen et al.
) add to these arguments by demonstrating how world-views are a key aspect of local knowledge and therefore of environmental governance and change, particularly on an applied local scale.
Our case studies add to these discussions in three respects.
We have shown that unacknowledged differences in the world-views and visions that actors have for the marine environment can be a barrier to marine resource management, knowledge co-creation, innovation and progress. The governing agencies and members of the community on Barra, and the academics studying renewables, were limited in the progression of their transformations due to the difference in ‘visions’ between what the governance regimes and the communities imagined for marine resources/areas. On Lewis, it was a case of the visions and actions of the AfC going un-noticed by those who had the power to push through developments. These issues in all of the case studies were caused by scale, power, and world-view variation.
We argue that discussions on how to manage marine resources should acknowledge the world-views (both motivations and epistemologies) of those involved. All of the case study actors would have benefitted from, or are benefiting from, being able to communicate how they envision the most effective management of marine resources and why. On Lewis, the actors expressly wanted to aid wave energy on the island in order to create local social benefits, such as jobs. Combined with their specialist knowledge and skill, they were able to create relationships with developers which encompassed their ‘visions’, and may have led to social benefits had the industry been able to move into commercial operation. In the Academia case study, headway is being made because there is now a recognition that there are different world-views involved in marine renewable energy development, which makes communication easier. On Barra, the rift between the ‘visions’ of several members of the community and the governing agencies is shrinking because all parties are making an effort to accommodate their different respective needs and priorities (be that meeting policy obligations or managing local resources in a way that makes sense to local people who live and work closely with the marine environment).
We suggest that there needs to be a ‘space’ for deliberation and a ‘translator’ to help this. This would allow actors to intercommunicate the reasons for their opinions, and how they envision the use of ‘their’ marine resource. This is turn could create a change in their environment, as was the case on Barra. Key members of the Barra community and governing agencies realised that a ‘blank sheet’ approach was the ‘space’ that they needed to create an effective management structure and plan for the MPA, a discussion that continues at the time of writing. The actions of the AfC on Lewis might have been more effective had there been a forum for renewable energy development on the island which involved actors on all levels of industry, governance and local communities. The academics required specialists in knowledge exchange to effectively disseminate research, and all actors needed a network where industry and policy could communicate views about their research needs.