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Transformative learning for better resource management: the role of critical reflection


  • Kate Bigney Wilner
  • Melanie Wiber
  • Anthony Charles
  • John Kearney
  • Melissa Landry
  • Lisette Wilson
  • on behalf of the Coastal CURA Team


Since 1992, integrated management has been promoted as the solution to challenges facing governments and civil society around the world when managing natural resources. It was argued that integrated management could lead to sustainable development if new participatory approaches to social learning could be developed. Since that time, social learning theory has been an important component of resource management literature. This paper argues that until social learning theory leans more heavily on group processes of transformative learning, sustainable development will elude us. Further, a process of systematic, critical reflection is key to transformative learning, as we illustrate using a five-year research project into the role of communities in integrated management in the Canadian Maritimes. Our experience shows how critical reflection processes can strengthen participatory research to further inform the practice of integrated management. We conclude by observing that room must be made for critical reflection and for true social learning in all integrated management institutions, whether community-based or government-initiated.

Suggested Citation

  • Kate Bigney Wilner & Melanie Wiber & Anthony Charles & John Kearney & Melissa Landry & Lisette Wilson & on behalf of the Coastal CURA Team, 2011. "Transformative learning for better resource management: the role of critical reflection," Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 55(10), pages 1331-1347, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jenpmg:v:55:y:2011:i:10:p:1331-1347 DOI: 10.1080/09640568.2011.646679

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Frances Ruane & Xiaoheng Zhang, 2007. "Location Choices of the Pharmaceutical Industry in Europe after 1992," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp220, IIIS.
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