Integration of expertise or collaborative practice? Coastal management and climate adaptation at the Wadden Sea

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Collaborative governance has emerged in recent years as a leading paradigm within environmental management more generally and coastal management in particular. The extensive policy and academic literatures on integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) have promoted the coordination of multiple policy sectors, the inclusion of non-state actors as well as the integration of scientific knowledge and expertise from across a diverse range of disciplines. More recently, scholars within this field have called for greater attention to local, lay forms of knowledge and the cultural values held by coastal communities. The potential tensions between these objectives has however, received limited attention to date. To what extent is a concern for collaborative practice and stakeholder inclusion compatible with a similarly ambitious concern for the transdisciplinary integration of expertise? This paper responds to calls for empirical analyses of governance processes at the coast and the need to critically review purported paradigm shifts within the context of broader spatially and temporally differentiated governance contexts. The paper identifies distinct interpretations of ICZM in the literature, reflecting distinct paradigms of planning practice. Empirically, the paper examines the relationship between knowledge integration and collaborative practice through a case study of managing coastal change at the German Wadden Sea coast. In this particular case, expert driven approaches to policy-making, informed by a technical rationality paradigm have been dominant, presenting challenges to the emergence of collaborative, cross-sectoral governance.

Original languageEnglish
JournalOcean and Coastal Management
Pages (from-to)78-86
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 01.01.2019
Externally publishedYes