Institutional supply, public demand, and citizen capabilities to participate in environmental programs in Mexico and India

Forrest Fleischman, Claudia Rodriguez Solorzano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

In this paper, we argue that, like a three-legged stool, participatory programs require three elements for stability: a supply of participatory institutions, a demand from citizens to participate, and citizens with capabilities for participation. We illustrate the importance of these three elements using case studies from forest management in central India and southern Mexico, and use the evidence from these cases to suggest hypotheses for future investigation. We argue that when participatory programs are implemented in places where demand for citizen engagement is weak and citizens lack the capability to engage, participation is unlikely. On the other hand, where people demand to participate and have the capability to do so, they are sometimes able to overcome obstacles to utilizing participatory institutions. Individuals’ agency for citizen engagement is developed in interaction with the structures of participation; this means that there may be a long-term synergy between the supply of participatory institutions and the development of skills and demand for citizen engagement. Our work implies that designers of participatory programs should pay equal attention to cultivating participatory capabilities, providing incentives that enhance demand for participation, and building institutions to open spaces for participation in governance. Building participatory environmental governance may thus require long-term, sustained attention to both citizenship and institution-building.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)162-190
Number of pages29
JournalInternational Journal of the Commons
Volume12
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Keywords: Calakmul, capabilities, Central India, citizen engagement, Mexico, participation, participatory governance Acknowledgement: We humbly acknowledge the help of many informants in India & Mexico who shared their life experiences with us. We received funding from the National Science Foundation (SBE 0721745 and CHE-1313932 to CRS, GRF-2007054263 to FF) and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, (McIntire Stennis Project # 1013165 to FF), and support from Dartmouth College’s Environmental Studies Program and the Texas A&M Department of Ecosystem Science and Management. We received helpful critiques of the ideas in this manuscript from Paromita Goswami, Kalyan Nayan, Hal Fischer, Seth Frey, and audiences at Indiana University, Uppsala University, and the University of Minnesota, as well as from the anonymous reviewers of this journal.

Funding Information:
We humbly acknowledge the help of many informants in India & Mexico who shared their life experiences with us. We received funding from the National Science Foundation (SBE 0721745 and CHE-1313932 to CRS, GRF-2007054263 to FF) and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, (McIntire Stennis Project # 1013165 to FF), and support from Dartmouth College’s Environmental Studies Program and the Texas A&M Department of Ecosystem Science and Management. We received helpful critiques of the ideas in this manuscript from Paromita Goswami, Kalyan Nayan, Hal Fischer, Seth Frey, and audiences at Indiana University, Uppsala University, and the University of Minnesota, as well as from the anonymous reviewers of this journal.

Keywords

  • Calakmul
  • Capabilities
  • Central India
  • Citizen engagement
  • Mexico
  • Participation
  • Participatory governance

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