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'Fostering Resilience' in Front-line Environmental Management Practice: A Multi-Sited Ethnography of Novel Constellations of Environmental Value in Practice


Environmental management professionals (EMPs) have a crucial role to play in strengthening ecosystems and mitigating the effects of global warming. Given the fundamental unpredictability of climate change-associated events such as draughts or floods, however, EMPs are increasingly asked to 'foster ecosystem resilience', thereby enhancing ecosystems' capacities to bounce back from, or adapt to, unpredictable environmental stressors. As a recently emerged environmental policy paradigm, however, 'resilience' remains a contested concept. Commentators within sociology and the environmental humanities suggest that 'fostering resilience' may in fact preclude political and ethical engagement with the (man-made) stressors on environments, yet these perspectives have not paid empirical attention to resilience in actual environmental management practices. Meanwhile, studies in environmental management point to a concerning lack of comprehensive and empirical studies of the way 'resilience' is actually taking shape in environmental management practice. FosResil is designed to fill these empirical and analytical gaps. By means of a multi-sited ethnography of three pioneering resilience-based initiatives across Western Europe (UK, BE, and NL), FosResil seeks to examine and critically assess the ways in which 'resilience' is currently reshaping environmental management practice. Drawing on Science and Technology Studies in particular, it seeks to analyse how 'resilience' gives rise to novel forms of knowing, valuing, and managing environments. The first synthetic and comprehensive study of the resilience concept in environmental practice, FosResil's seeks to enhance public awareness of environmental management in an age of climate change, foster professional knowledge transfer and exchange, while its pioneering scientific achievement consists of its conceptualization of emerging notions of environmental agency and responsibility as they accompany resilience-in-practice.

Call for proposal

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Funding Scheme

MSCA-IF-EF-CAR - CAR – Career Restart panel


Oude Markt 13
3000 Leuven
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 267 480