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Can social ecological economics of water reinforce the “big tent”?

Arnaud Buchs, Olivier Petit () and Philippe Roman

Ecological Economics, 2020, vol. 169, issue C

Abstract: This paper seeks to characterize the importance of the social and political dimensions of the literature dedicated to water in the field of ecological economics. It attempts to assess the relevance of Spash's division of the community into three “camps”, namely “new resource economists”, “social ecological economists” and “new environmental pragmatists” through the literature focusing on water issues published in leading scientific journals. We begin with an analysis of the main ontological, epistemological and methodological tenets of the three “camps”. We then analyze the relevance and limits of such categorization for water research through papers published in Ecological Economics. We then explore the field of ecological economics of water through textual statistics obtained from research abstracts published in five selected journals since the late 1980s. Our results raise questions regarding the relevance of the partition of the ecological economics community thanks to a Venn diagram that presents limited overlaps. We promote an inclusive representation of the “big tent” of ecological economics, thus suggesting new perspectives for the debate on methodological pluralism in Ecological Economics. To conclude, a series of recommendations are suggested to promote water social ecological economics, and strengthen pluralism within the community.

Keywords: Water; Social ecological economics; “Big tent”; Content analysis; Methodological pluralism (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2019.106553

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