Friday, February 8, 2019

An article just published in Sustainability

"Ethics to Intersect Civic Participation and
Formal Guidance"

(by Martin Bohle, Cornelia E. Nauen, and Eduardo Marone)

Sound governance arrangement in socio-ecological systems (human niche) combines different means of sense-making. The sustainability of human niche-building depends on the governability of the social-ecological systems (SES) forming the niche. Experiences from small-scale marine fisheries and seabed mining illustrate how ethical frameworks, civic participation and formalised guidance combine in the context of a “blue economy”. Three lines of inquiries contextualise these experiences driving research questions, such as “what is the function of ethics for governability?” First, complex-adaptive SES are featured to emphasise the sense-making feedback loop in SES. Actors are part of this feedback loop and can use different means of sense-making to guide their actions. Second, the “Voluntary Guidelines for Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries” and geoethical thinking are featured to highlight the relevance of actor-centric concepts. Third, Kohlberg’s model of “stages of moral adequacy” and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) are used to show how to strengthen actor-centric virtue-ethics. Combining these lines of inquiry leads to the conclusion that ethical frameworks, civic participation and formalised guidance, when put in a mutual context, support governability and multi-actor/level policy-making. Further research could explore how creativity can strengthen civic participation, a feature only sketched here.

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