What kinds of knowledge, knowing and learning are required for addressing resource dilemmas? A theoretical overview.
Environmental Science and Policy, 10(6)
This paper considers what kinds of knowledge, knowing and learning are required for addressing resource dilemmas in the context of sustainable development. It also explains why and how the SLIM project focused on social learning for managing water resources. The range of learning theories that informed SLIM are discussed, as is the historical pattern of lineages, relationships and discontinuities among these and other theories. Whilst conceptions of social learning are contested, most perspectives raise questions about the nature of knowledge and knowing. It is argued that becoming aware of our assumptions regarding learning, knowing and how we develop knowledge, can help us find out more about what we need to know.
The nature of resource dilemmas, implications for learning, what learning involves, its interdisciplinary nature and its history of ideas are all considered. An overview of learning theories is given, explaining their potential relevance for researchers, policymakers and practitioners in environmental contexts. The discourse, theory and practice of social learning and factors that influenced the choice of social learning theories by SLIM researchers are discussed. The paper concludes by considering how understanding what social learning involves can contribute, in a practical way, to dealing with resource dilemmas.
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