Co-managing protected areas entails to deal with multiple perspectives and values about land use and to manage conservation conflicts. Key challenges for these collective approaches are (1) to navigate through tensions over meaning and competing narratives, (2) to deal with blurred roles of authority and responsibilities due to decentralization, and (3) to manage socio-historical pasts in which cooperation and conflict are entangled in actor relationships. In this talk, I will describe a relational narrative research approach that I developed in my PhD thesis, which integrates narrative and social network theory to study the mechanisms that shape social dynamics in collaborative arrangements. Furthermore, I will present some empirical work on my case study (located in Germany) where we tested relational drivers for common narratives. Finally, I’ll zoom into the conflict between the actors in my case study and describe how polarization became manifested in narratives and social identities of the actors involved.
Larissa Koch is an environmental social scientist who is interested in the social dynamics of collaborative governance and management arrangements and explores actor narratives, social identities and social networks in resource management. She just submitted her PhD thesis on “The social dynamics of collaboration in environmental governance and management” that she completed in resources management with Claudia Pahl-Wostl at Osnabrück University. She studied communication sciences with a focus on environmental sciences at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. Since April, she works as a post-doctoral researcher at the Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Landscape Research near Berlin in Germany and supports to develop real-world labs for sustainable agricultural transformation in Brandenburg.