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  • Cited by 1
  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: September 2019

9 - Polycentricity and Citizenship in Environmental Governance

from Part III - Constituting Polycentric Governance


This chapter addresses the challenges of establishing and sustaining governance arrangements conducive to environmental citizenship. The significance of this concern is illustrated by Australian experiences with governance arrangements seeking to promote citizenship among rural landholders in natural resources conservation. The chapter draws from Vincent Ostrom's thinking about polycentric governance, who drew from de Tocqueville. Ostrom identified ‘the way people think and relate to one another’ (corresponding with the meta-constitutional level of analysis in the Institutional Analysis and Development framework) as vital for governance that is capable of promoting citizenship, and the citizenship required to sustain polycentric governance. Progress in empirical investigation of relationships between polycentric governance and environmental citizenship is reviewed. One relationship of this kind is illustrated by policy reform in Australia’s Murray-Darling Basin.

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