Polycentric governance involves many overlapping, semi-autonomous centers of authority that are engaged in self-organization, coordination, and mutual adjustment. The many benefits of polycentric governance—flexibility, responsiveness, inclusivity, institutional fit, opportunities for experimentation and innovation, and robustness—make it attractive compared to monocentric governance. While polycentricity is certainly not a panacea, research on polycentric governance, specifically power dynamics among centers of authority, challenges these normative prescriptions. Studies find that different kinds of power influence the emergence as well as the design of polycentric systems to result in maladaptive outcomes. In this presentation, by drawing upon the polycentric power typology, I will provide insights into the power dynamics underpinning Lake Victoria’s polycentric fisheries system in east Africa.
Praneeta Mudaliar is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies and Sciences at Ithaca College in New York, USA. Praneeta’s interdisciplinary social scientific research and teaching spans across the themes of commons and collective action, climate justice and climate policy, and decolonizing conservation for advancing social justice and environmental sustainability. She has conducted cross-national empirical research in the United States, India, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.