Toward a methodology for explaining and theorizing about social-ecological phenomena

Author(s): Schlüter, M., Orach, K., Lindkvist, E., Martin, R., Wijermans, N. et al.
In: Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability Volume 39, August 2019, Pages 44-53
Year: 2019
Type: Journal / article
Theme affiliation: Complex Adaptive Systems
Full reference: Schlüter, M., Orach, K., Lindkvist, E., Martin, R., Wijermans, N. et al. 2019. Toward a methodology for explaining and theorizing about social-ecological phenomena. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability Volume 39, August 2019, Pages 44-53

Summary

Explanations that account for complex causation, emergence, and social-ecological interdependence are necessary for building theories of social-ecological phenomena. Social-ecological systems (SES) research has accumulated rich empirical understanding of SES; however, integration of this knowledge toward contextualized generalizations, or middle-range theories, remains challenging. We discuss the potential of an iterative and collaborative process that combines generalizing from case studies with agent-based modelling as an abductive methodology to successively build and test explanations rooted in complexity thinking. Collaboration between empirical researchers, theoreticians, practitioners, and modellers is imperative to accommodate this process, which can be seen as a first step toward building middle-range theories.

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