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A Strategic Approach to Multistakeholder Negotiations


  • David Edmunds
  • Eva Wollenberg


Environment and development practitioners increasingly are interested in identifying methods, institutional arrangements and policy environments that promote negotiations among natural resource stakeholders leading to collective action and, it is hoped, sustainable resource management. Yet the implications of negotiations for disadvantaged groups of people are seldom critically examined. We draw attention to such implications by examining different theoretical foundations for multistakeholder negotiations and linking these to practical problems for disadvantaged groups. We argue that negotiations based on an unhealthy combination of communicative rationality and liberal pluralism, which underplays or seeks to neutralize differences among stakeholders, poses considerable risks for disadvantaged groups. We suggest that negotiations influenced by radical pluralist and feminist post‐structuralist thought, which emphasize strategic behaviour and selective alliance‐building, promise better outcomes for disadvantaged groups in most cases, particularly on the scale and in the historical contexts in which negotiations over forest management usually take place.

Suggested Citation

  • David Edmunds & Eva Wollenberg, 2001. "A Strategic Approach to Multistakeholder Negotiations," Development and Change, International Institute of Social Studies, vol. 32(2), pages 231-253, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:devchg:v:32:y:2001:i:2:p:231-253
    DOI: 10.1111/1467-7660.00204

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    Cited by:

    1. Rory Truex & Tina Søreide, 2011. "Why Multi-Stakeholder Groups Succeed and Fail," Chapters, in: Susan Rose-Ackerman & Tina Søreide (ed.), International Handbook on the Economics of Corruption, Volume Two, chapter 17, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Wester, P. & Scott, Christopher A. & Burton, Martin, 2005. "River basin closure and institutional change in Mexico’s Lerma-Chapala Basin," Book Chapters,, International Water Management Institute.
    3. Agathe Osinski, 2021. "Towards a Critical Sustainability Science? Participation of Disadvantaged Actors and Power Relations in Transdisciplinary Research," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(3), pages 1-21, January.
    4. Molden, David & Sakthivadivel, Ramasamy & Samad, Madar & Burton, Martin, 2005. "Phases of river basin development: the need for adaptive institutions," Book Chapters,, International Water Management Institute.
    5. Svendsen, Mark & Wester, Philippus & Molle, Francois, 2005. "Managing river basins: an institutional perspective," Book Chapters,, International Water Management Institute.
    6. Jérôme Queste & Tom Wassenaar, 2019. "A practical dialogue protocol for sustainability science to contribute to regional resources management: its implementation in Réunion," Natural Resources Forum, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 43(1), pages 3-16, February.
    7. Meena Daivadanam & Maia Ingram & Kristi Sidney Annerstedt & Gary Parker & Kirsty Bobrow & Lisa Dolovich & Gillian Gould & Michaela Riddell & Rajesh Vedanthan & Jacqui Webster & Pilvikki Absetz & Helle, 2019. "The role of context in implementation research for non-communicable diseases: Answering the ‘how-to’ dilemma," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 14(4), pages 1-22, April.
    8. Millner, Naomi & Peñagaricano, Irune & Fernandez, Maria & Snook, Laura K., 2020. "The politics of participation: Negotiating relationships through community forestry in the Maya Biosphere Reserve, Guatemala," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 127(C).

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