Mapping cultural enablers and barriers to participation in Connemara: lay knowledge, sustainability discourses and environmental governance

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Abstract

This paper focuses upon lay knowledge and sustainability concepts that shape and reflect environmental policy implementation and public reactions to environmental participatory forums in Connemara, Ireland. Drawing on in-depth qualitative fieldwork from a mixed-method study of knowledge in Connemara, the paper argues that local understandings of sustainability which prioritise lay knowledge for future generations both helps and hinders successful environmental participation. These definitions of sustainability are central to how community actors define what constitutes effective environmental participation. Many established locals draw upon these sustainability ideals to justify the deliberate exclusion of recent settlers to the area from environmental participatory forums. Insights revealed here on how local cultural conventions pertaining to language use, ‘defensive localism’ and insider–outsider distinctions affect participation in rural Ireland are highly significant for understanding barriers to effective environmental governance and the complexity of local perceptions of participation, sustainability and policy-making.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-194
JournalIrish Journal of Sociology
Volume25
Issue number2
Early online date4 Oct 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017

Keywords

  • Lay knowledge
  • sustainability
  • participation
  • environment
  • policy implementation

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    LISA MORAN

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