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Sustainability Science

, Volume 14, Issue 5, pp 1323–1332 | Cite as

Social learning as a link between the individual and the collective: evaluating deliberation on social values

  • Max Eriksson
  • Carena J. van RiperEmail author
  • Ben Leitschuh
  • Amanda Bentley Brymer
  • Andrea Rawluk
  • Christopher M. Raymond
  • Jasper O. Kenter
Special Feature: Original Article Theoretical traditions in social values for sustainability
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Special Feature: Theoretical traditions in social values for sustainability

Abstract

The role of social learning in deliberative processes is an emerging area of research in sustainability science. Functioning as a link between the individual and the collective, social learning has been envisioned as a process that can empower and give voice to a diverse set of stakeholder viewpoints, contribute to more adaptive and resilient management decisions and foster broader societal transformations. However, despite its widespread use in the context of participatory management of natural resources, the empirical properties of social learning remain understudied. This paper evaluates the role of social interaction and social capital in achieving transformative learning in discussions about social values. We employ a longitudinal design involving three consecutive surveys of 25 participants of an expert workshop focused on social values, as well as approximately 12 hours of transcribed audio and video recordings of participant interactions. Our mixed methods approach demonstrates the potential of using changes in social networks and definitions of social values that emerge from qualitative coding as indicators of social learning. We find that individuals with a weaker conceptual understanding of social values are more likely to change their definitions of the concept after deliberation. Though slight, these changes display a shift towards definitions more firmly held by other group members.

Keywords

Social learning Social values Sustainability Social capital Mixed methods 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The social values expert workshop was supported by the Valuing Nature Programme, funded by the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) under grant reference NE/M005410/1. We also thank the Great Lakes Fishery Commission for providing personnel support (contract: 2018_VAN_44076) that made this research possible.

Supplementary material

11625_2019_725_MOESM1_ESM.docx (17 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 16 kb)

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© Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Natural Resources and Environmental SciencesUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUrbanaUSA
  2. 2.Environmental Science ProgramUniversity of IdahoMoscowUSA
  3. 3.University of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  4. 4.Helsinki Institute of Sustainability ScienceUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  5. 5.Ecosystems and Environment Research Program, Faculty of Biological and Environmental SciencesUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  6. 6.Department of Environmental and Resource Economics, Faculty of Agriculture and ForestryUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  7. 7.Department of Environment and GeographyUniversity of YorkYorkUK

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