Human Interactions and Sustainability
Pp. 88-111 (24)
Michael E. Gorman, Lekelia D. Jenkins and Raina K. Plowright
This chapter describes a framework for understanding and managing
complex systems that couple human beings, nature and technology. The framework
includes five major components; the first three are necessary capabilities for
accomplishing the last two.
• Superordinate goals: Human beings have to see the urgent necessity of working
together to solve problems like climate change and depletion of natural resources.
• Moral imagination: Differences in values can prevent adoption of a superordinate
goal. Moral imagination is the equivalent of interactional expertise concerning
values; it involves being able to ‘step into the shoes’ of another stakeholder and see
the problem from her or his perspective.
• Trading zones: Linking multiple stakeholders will require setting up a series of
trading zones for exchanging ideas, resources, and solutions across different
communities and interests.
Developing the three capabilities above will permit:
• Adaptive management: This strategy involves treating management interventions
like hypotheses, subjecting them to empirical tests, and revising the strategy based
on the results. Adaptive management is difficult in tightly coupled humantechnological-
natural systems, where hypotheses should be constructed not only
about environmental impacts, but also about effects on stakeholders.
• Anticipatory governance: Global problems and opportunities will require adding more
anticipatory, adaptive capability to governance mechanisms, linking decision makers with
other stakeholders. These exchanges will have to be motivated by a superordinate goal so
urgent that governance structures can be transformed, if necessary.
This framework will be applied to two detailed case studies, one concerned with
developing better management practices for reducing bycatch in fisheries, the other with
ecosystem disruptions like the 2001 outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the UK.
Limitations of the framework will be discussed in the light of these case studies, along
with suggestions for how it can be improved.
Antropocene, Trading zones, Interactional expertise, Mental models,
Moral imagination, Superordinate goals, Adaptive management, Anticipatory
governance, Conservation, Bycatch reduction, Turtle Excuder Device, Foot and
Department of Science, Technology & Society, University of Virginia, USA;