Advancing adaptive governance of social-ecological systems through theoretical multiplicity

Timothy Karpouzoglou, Art Dewulf, Julian Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Citations (Scopus)
208 Downloads (Pure)


In recent years there has been rising scientific and policy interest in the adaptive governance of social-ecological systems. A systematic literature review of adaptive governance research during the period 2005–2014, demonstrates a vibrant debate taking place that spans a variety of empirical and theoretical approaches. The particular strength of adaptive governance is that it provides a theoretical lens for research that combines the analyses of novel governance capacities such as adaptive capacity, collaboration, scaling, knowledge and learning. As a way to give greater depth and analytical rigour to future studies over the next decade and beyond, we highlight the added value of theoretical multiplicity (i.e., focusing on the combination of theories to address complex problems). We argue that theoretical multiplicity can encourage stronger synergies between adaptive governance and other theoretical approaches and can help address epistemologically grey areas in adaptive governance scholarship, such as power and politics, inclusion and equity, short term and long term change, the relationship between public policy and adaptive governance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
JournalEnvironmental Science and Policy
Early online date12 Dec 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016


  • Adaptive governance
  • Systematic literature review
  • Theoretical multiplicity


Dive into the research topics of 'Advancing adaptive governance of social-ecological systems through theoretical multiplicity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this