The promise of practice: the value of the practice approach for forest and nature governance studies

Jelle Behagel, Bas Arts, Severine van Bommel, Jessica de Koning, Esther Turnhout, 2013, In: Arts, B., Behagel, J., Bommel, S. van, Koning, J. de, Turnhout, E. Forest and nature governance: a practice based approach. Dordrecht: Springer.

A practice based approach is new to studies of forest and nature governance and fairly new to governance studies in general. In this chapter, we outline the promise of such an approach for such studies. The chapter is in two parts. Firstly, a number of conclusions are drawn from the preceding individual chapters. They relate to: (1) the types of forest and nature governance practices that can be empirically distinguished; (2) the way the sensitising concepts of logic of practice, situated agency, and performativity have been used to move beyond mainstream governance approaches; and (3) the specific characteristics of a practice based approach to forest and nature governance. The second part of the chapter discusses the academic and societal value of the practice based approach as offered in this book, firstly by comparing this approach to an interpretative approach in governance studies and addressing similarities and differences, and then by discussing whether the practice based approach can contribute to policy making and steering social change. We conclude that a practice based approach can convincingly address some points that mainstream accounts of governance cannot, but only if certain long-held convictions about what governance really is are abandoned.