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  • 1.
    Boström, Magnus
    et al.
    Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences.
    Lidskog, Rolf
    Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences.
    Uggla, Ylva
    Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences.
    A reflexive look at reflexivity in environmental sociology2017In: Environmental Sociology, ISSN 2325-1042, Vol. 3, no 1, p. 6-16, article id Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Reflexivity is a central concept in environmental sociology, as in environmental social science in general. The concept is often connected to topics such as modernity, governance, expertise, and consumption. Reflexivity is presented as a means for taking constructive steps towards sustainability as it recognizes complexity, uncertainty, dilemmas, and ambivalence. Critical discussion of the conceptual meaning and usage of reflexivity is therefore needed. Is it a useful theoretical concept for understanding various sustainability issues? Is ‘more reflexivity’ relevant and useful advice that environmental sociologists can give in communicating with other disciplines, policymakers, and practitioners? This article explores the conceptual meaning of reflexivity and assesses its relevance for environmental sociology. In particular, it reviews its usages in three research fields; expertise, governance, and citizen-consumers. The paper furthermore discusses the spatial and temporal boundaries of reflexivity. It concludes by discussing how the concept can be a useful analytical concept in environmental sociology, at the same time as it warns against an exaggerated and unreflexive use of the concept.

  • 2.
    Gustafsson, Karin M
    et al.
    Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences. Environmental Sociology Section.
    Lidskog, Rolf
    Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences. Environmental Sociology Section.
    Organizing international experts: IPBES’s efforts to gain epistemic authority2018In: Environmental Sociology, ISSN 2325-1042, Vol. 4, no 4, p. 445-456Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    What role do organizational preconditions play in the constitution of expertise? This is the guiding question for this paper, which studies how expertise is shaped in the Intergovernmental Science–Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). By organizing the world’s experts on biodiversity, IPBES sets out to produce policy-relevant knowledge. However, in contrast to many other international expert bodies such as the IPCC, IPBES assesses not only scientific knowledge, but also other forms of knowledge, including indigenous and local knowledge. In light of IPBES’s ambition to become an epistemic authority by synthesizing heterogeneous knowledge forms, it is of great interest to investigate how this expertise is constructed. What does ‘expertise’ mean for IPBES, and how are experts selected? Based on documents studies, this study explores the organizational structure through which IPBES assesses and selects experts. The analysis finds that the construction of expertise involves scientific as well as political dimensions. In the conclusions, problems are raised that are related to the outcome of this process and may threaten the epistemic authority of IPBES.

  • 3.
    Uggla, Ylva
    Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences.
    Negotiating responsible forestry: forest owners’ understanding of responsibility for multiple forest values2018In: Environmental Sociology, ISSN 2325-1042, Vol. 4, no 3, p. 358-369Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The governance trend toward decentralization, which implies transfer of responsibility to market actors to voluntarily respond to socio-environmental issues, is evident in forest policy. Parallel to this trend, mandatory environmental legislation circumscribes forest owners’ scope of action. Drawing on the example of Sweden and based on qualitative interviews, this study examined how non-industrial private forest owners understand and construct their responsibility for multiple forest values in an ambiguous policy situation. By juxtaposition of the concepts of governmentality and discursive negotiation of responsibility, the study contributes insights into not only how people are governed but also how they express dissent or resistance. The results of this study clearly elucidate that individuals are never fully controlled by discourse and that responsibilization of individual forest owners cannot guarantee a certain outcome. Additionally, the study contributes some insights into the predicament of being simultaneously addressed as an autonomous, capable actor and subject to direction and mandatory rules.

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