Johan Bastiaensen, Frédéric Huybrechs, Pierre Merlet, Milagros Romero, Gert Van Hecken, Fostering bottom-up actor coalitions for transforming complex rural territorial pathways, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Volume 49, 2021, Pages 42-49.
Abstract: This contribution presents the perspective on rural transformations to sustainability of the TRUEPATH action-research project in the agrarian frontier in Nicaragua. We start from a ‘territorial pathways’ framework, assembled from diverse theoretical building blocks and empirically grounded in experiences with local development interventions. This framework holds that incumbent and transformative pathways emerge out of the power-laden interactions of the biophysical territory with dominant, respectively innovative configurations of ideas, social structures and ‘rules-in-use’. We emphasize the centrality and political nature of the on-going territorial processes and acknowledge that uncertainty and epistemological plurality are inevitable characteristics of any change process, implying the impossibility to define any particular objective end-point of ‘sustainability’. This has methodological consequences for our potential contributions to transformative change. We reflect upon the ambiguous role of actors (including ourselves) involved in action-research processes and position our expected contributions to transformative change vis-à-vis potentially transformative actor coalitions.
Read the full open access paper here: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cosust.2021.02.001.