073: Polycentricity with Tomas Koontz and Praneeta Mudaliar

In this episode, Divya and Michael interview Tomas Koontz and Praneeta Mudliar. Tomas Koontz is a Professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at the University of Washington. Praneeta is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences at the Ithaca College. Tom was Divya’s Ph.D. advisor, and Praneeta was her Ph.D. cohort, so doing this episode was also like a virtual reunion and served as an opportunity for Praneeta and Divya to reminisce and reflect on their journeys of navigating graduate school as international students in the United States, and Torm shared his experience of working and mentoring international students.

Both Tom and Praneeta discussed their case studies on using polycentricity as a lens to study fisheries management in Lake Victoria (Praneeta) and collaborative governance of the socio-ecological systems in Puget Sound (Tom). Praneeta elaborated on how she used the concept of polycentricity to examine power dynamics in multi-level and multi-actor interactions in lake fisheries governance. Tom shared how the lens of polycentricity enabled him to examine multi-stakeholder collaboration in decision-making and collaborative governance among stakeholders across different scales. Together, both Tom and Praneeta reflected on ways science and scientific theories can inform practitioners in their decision-making process.

Praneeta’s website: https://www.ithaca.edu/faculty/pmudliar

Tom’s website: https://directory.tacoma.uw.edu/employee/koontz31


Mudliar, P. (2020). Polycentric to monocentric governance: Power dynamics in Lake Victoria’s fisheries. Environmental Policy and Governance.

Mudliar, P., & O’Brien, L. (2021). Crowding-out lower-level authorities: Interactions and transformations of higher and lower-level authorities in Kenya’s polycentric fisheries. Environmental Science & Policy, 118, 27-35.

Koontz, T. M. (2021). Science and scale mismatch: Horizontal and vertical information sharing in the Puget Sound polycentric governance system. Journal of Environmental Management, 290, 112600.

Koontz, T. M. (2019). Cooperation in polycentric governance systems. Governing complexity: Analyzing and applying polycentricity, 115-132.