Negotiating river restoration: The role of divergent reframing in environmental decision-making

Emery, S.B., Perks, M.T. and Bracken, Louise J. (2013) Negotiating river restoration: The role of divergent reframing in environmental decision-making. Geoforum, 47. pp. 167-177. ISSN 0016-7185

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In this paper we employ rhetoric culture theory, and a case study of upland channel truncation in the UK, to explore the nuanced processes of negotiation associated with environmental decision-making. In contrast to much of the literature on rhetoric in environmental management, which focuses on the means by which decisions are communicated and justified to an external audience, we focus on the dynamics of interaction and persuasion in and amongst a small group of decision-makers, and how, despite initial misgivings and conflict, they arrived at a decision consensus. We reflect on the importance of the rhetorical situation as a determinant of action and demonstrate how antagonisms were caused by competing moral notions of environmental restoration. We show that consensus was finally achieved through a process of divergent reframing, as individuals reframed the problem according to their own prior values. The outcome, therefore, was a consensus of action but a divergence of opinion, which sheds new light on the role of reframing in environmental management. Finally, we argue for a better understanding of how nuanced interactional processes influence not only small-scale interventions, but all environmental decision processes.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding information: This research was undertaken as part of a Rural Economy and Land Use (RELU) Programme funded PhD studentship (for Emery). For helpful comments on earlier versions of the paper we are very grateful to Amy Proctor and three anonymous reviewers.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Restoration, River, Framing, Reframing, Rhetoric.
Subjects: F800 Physical and Terrestrial Geographical and Environmental Sciences
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Geography and Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Elena Carlaw
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2021 16:08
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2021 16:15

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