Wednesday, July 18, 2007

MOPAN 2007

The 14th International Conference on Multi-Organizational Partnerships, Alliances and Networks took place in Leuven on 28-29 June 2007. A lively exchange of ideas took place during a full two-day program among about 85 participants.

More pictures can be found on the conference website

Qualitative Research

Resources for doing qualitative research are often not easy to find. On the following webpage you'll find some starting points that I came accross:

The collection is somewhat biased towards discourse analytic methods, which I have been using most in my own research.

Publication "Social Learning and Water Resources Management"

A manuscript on "Social Learning and Water Resources Management" just got accepted for publication in Ecology and Society. The authors are a group of people who were involved in the HarmoniCOP project: Claudia Pahl-Wostl (Univ. Osnabrück), Marc Craps (VLEKHO Business School), Erik Mostert (T.U.Delft), David Tabara (Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona) en Tharsi Taillieu (K.U.Leuven) and myself.

Here goes the abstract:

Natural resources management in general and water resources management in particular, are currently undergoing a major paradigm shift. Management practices have largely been developed and implemented by experts using technical means based on designing systems that can be predicted and controlled. In recent years, stakeholder involvement has gained increasing importance. Collaborative governance is considered to be more appropriate for integrated and adaptive management regimes needed to cope with the complexity of socio-ecological systems. The paper presents a concept for social learning and collaborative governance developed in the European project HarmoniCOP (Harmonizing COllaborative Planning). The concept is rooted in the more interpretive strands of the social sciences emphasizing the context dependence of knowledge. The role of frames and boundary management in processes of learning at different levels and time scales are investigated. The foundation of social learning as investigated in the HarmoniCOP project are multiparty collaboration processes which are perceived to be the nuclei of learning processes. Such processes take place in networks or “communities of practice” and are influenced by the governance structure in which they are embedded. Requirements for social learning include institutional settings that guarantee some degree of stability and certainty without being rigid and inflexible. Our analyses based on conceptual considerations and empirical insights suggest that the development of such institutional settings involves continued processes of social learning where stakeholders at different scales are connected in flexible networks and where the capacity and trust is developed to collaborate in a wide range of formal and informal relationships from formal legal structures and contracts to informal, voluntary agreements.

The article can be downloaded from the Ecology and Society open access website at

Here's an updated publication list