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The importance of trust.: a study of knowledge production of biodiversity.
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1495-8346
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The loss of biological diversity is one of today’s greatest environmental problems. Scientific knowledge is typically presented as the premise to solve this problem. However, science alone is not sufficient to produce knowledge of biodiversity. Other actors are also involved in knowledge production. The aim of this thesis is to analyse how different actors create knowledge of the environmental problem of biodiversity loss and to further investigate the importance of trust in the relationships between these knowledge producers.

This thesis uses a discourse analytical perspective and conducts interviews and document studies to explore how actors use different narratives to legitimate their knowledge production. Through four papers addressing different aspects of knowledge production, this thesis discusses conditions for knowledge production, particularly the importance of trust.

The results show that actors other than scientific experts also have the ability to act in knowledgeable ways and to be involved in knowledge production of biodiversity. Knowledge is produced by making use of many different dimensions and aspects, such as global, regional, local, and science, politics, and everyday life. The result also shows how trust, distrust, and as-if trust are key activities in knowledge production of environmental problems, such as the loss of biodiversity.

This thesis argues that the actors involved need to realise and acknowledge that knowledge production is a mutual process in which actors must engage in trust and distrust activities. In so doing, it will be possible to understand the complexity of the loss of biodiversity and thus to better manage this problem.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro University , 2013. , p. 94
Series
Örebro Studies in Sociology, ISSN 1650-2531 ; 16
Keywords [en]
trust, knowledge, biological diversity, biodiversity, environmental problems, discourse analysis, Mode-1/Mode-2, SSK, STS
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-32291ISBN: 978-91-7668-969-1 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-32291DiVA, id: diva2:663259
Public defence
2013-11-08, Örebro, 21:09 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2013-11-15 Created: 2013-11-09 Last updated: 2017-10-17Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Acknowledging risk, trusting expertise, and coping with uncertainty: citizens' deliberations on spraying an insect population
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Acknowledging risk, trusting expertise, and coping with uncertainty: citizens' deliberations on spraying an insect population
2012 (English)In: Society & Natural Resources, ISSN 0894-1920, E-ISSN 1521-0723, Vol. 25, no 6, p. 587-601Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The basis for this article is the growing interest in understanding how the public evaluates risk issues. The empirical case consists of an interview study of residents in an area that has experienced an outbreak of moths that has become a nuisance to humans. The study focuses on the narratives created by the residents to make sense of the situation, the risks they associated with regulatory options, and how these narratives relate to expert opinions of the problem. The analysis shows that the residents criticize specific experts and knowledge claims. This is done, however, without questioning science as such; there is still a belief among the residents that science is an institution that generally produces valid knowledge. The analysis also shows that citizen knowledge does not merely passively reflect science. Instead, citizens create meaning and construct knowledge by organizing personal experiences and knowledge claims into coherent narratives.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2012
Keywords
biodiversity, narrative, public trust, public understanding of science, risk, spraying
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-23368 (URN)10.1080/08941920.2011.620598 (DOI)000304064100005 ()2-s2.0-84859627301 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2012-06-11 Created: 2012-06-11 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
2. Made in conflict: local residents' construction of a local environmental problem
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Made in conflict: local residents' construction of a local environmental problem
2011 (English)In: Local Environment: the International Journal of Justice and Sustainability, ISSN 1354-9839, E-ISSN 1469-6711, Vol. 16, no 7, p. 655-670Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of this paper is to understand how local residents participate in the construction of local environmental problems and to evaluate a particular analytical approach in environmental sociology to study this phenomenon. The paper is based on an interview study with a sample of local residents. The analysis demonstrates how the local residents attempt to construct a local environmental problem. In particular, the study focuses on how involved actors are positioned, how different sorts of knowledge claims are used, and how the neglect the residents perceive from the authorities affects the attempt to construct a local environmental problem. The study shows that the local residents play a central role in the construction of the situation and that the evaluated model could be very helpful as an analytical tool in the investigation of local residents' participation in the construction of environmental problems.

Keywords
environmental problem, environmental knowledge, local residents, social constructionism, narrative, pine processionary moth
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-16483 (URN)10.1080/13549839.2011.589431 (DOI)
Available from: 2011-08-09 Created: 2011-08-09 Last updated: 2019-03-05Bibliographically approved
3. Environmental discourses and biodiversity: the construction of a storyline in understanding and managing an environmental issue
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Environmental discourses and biodiversity: the construction of a storyline in understanding and managing an environmental issue
2013 (English)In: Journal of Integrative Environmental Sciences, ISSN 1943-815X, E-ISSN 1943-8168, Vol. 10, no 1, p. 39-54Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Although biodiversity is considered to be one of today’s greatest environmental challenges, its definition remains open to interpretation. How biodiversity is understood and managed depends on the environmental discourses within which it is articulated. This paper examines how the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC), one of the largest environmental NGOs in Sweden, describes biodiversity in its 2011 yearbook. The yearbook is aimed at a wide audience and is intended to improve the general public’s understanding of biodiversity. Using discourse analysis, this study shows how the SSNC defines biodiversity by re-articulating three environmental discourses and integrating them into a single storyline. The analysis shows how these discourses offer different possibilities for different subject positions to speak about and act in relation to biodiversity. Finally, the study shows how normative implications for action are articulated as consequences of these definitions and who is responsible for performing these actions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2013
Keywords
biodiversity, environmental discourse, subject position, storyline, discourse analysis, environmental NGO
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-30152 (URN)10.1080/1943815X.2013.769455 (DOI)000316012700003 ()2-s2.0-84875216572 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2013-08-08 Created: 2013-08-08 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
4. Boundary work, hybrid practices and portable representations: an analysis of global and national co-productions of Red Lists
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Boundary work, hybrid practices and portable representations: an analysis of global and national co-productions of Red Lists
2013 (English)In: Nature and Culture, ISSN 1558-6073, E-ISSN 1558-5468, Vol. 8, no 1, p. 30-52Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

For many countries, the IUCN Red List of threatened species is a central instrument in their work to counteract loss of biodiversity. This article analyzes the development of the Red List categories and criteria, how these categories and criteria are used in the construction of global, national, and regional red lists, and how the red lists are employed in policy work. A central finding of the article is that this mix of actors implies many different forms of boundary work. This article also finds that the Red List functions as a portable representation, that is, a context-independent instrument to represent nature. A third finding is that the Red List functions as a link between experts and policy makers. Thus, the Red List is best understood as a boundary object and hybrid practice where the credibility of scientific assessment and a specific policy is mutually strengthened

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Berghahn Journals, 2013
Keywords
Portable presentation, hybrid practices, co-production, boundary work, Red List
National Category
Social Sciences Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-24146 (URN)10.3167/nc.2013.080103 (DOI)000317804900003 ()2-s2.0-84876340533 (Scopus ID)
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas
Available from: 2012-07-19 Created: 2012-07-19 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved

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Gustafsson, Karin M

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