What role for social-ecological systems research in governing global teleconnections?

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungbegutachtet


The paper considers the extent to which social-ecological systems research might contribute to an improved understanding of the social and environmental impacts of teleconnections inherent in economic globalisation. Recognising the importance and specificity of regional interconnections, wherein actions in certain parts of the world impact quite specifically on the sustainability of certain other spatially distant places and systems, the paper reflects on the social and environmental implications of increasingly interconnected agri-food systems and intersecting global commodity chains. Key elements of social-ecological systems approaches, which have purported relevance to research on globalisation, are critically examined, and aspects of social-ecological systems thinking that pose challenges for its application in this context are considered. Wider implications and limitations of social-ecological systems approaches to research and practice in (global) governance for sustainability are discussed. The general conclusion is that social-ecological systems research may offer insights into the governance of social and environmental impacts of agri-food systems and other complex systems at certain scales. However, the formal utility of concepts like resilience, vulnerability and adaptability becomes considerably less clear as research turns to analyses of larger, complex, globally teleconnected systems, where the main contribution of such concepts may lie in their metaphorical appeal to important aspects of interconnectivity and interdependence.

ZeitschriftGlobal Environmental Change : Human and Policy Dimensions
Seiten (von - bis)32-40
Anzahl der Seiten9
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 07.2014