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Toward a constructivist understanding of socio-environmental conflicts

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Ide, T. (2016). Toward a constructivist understanding of socio-environmental conflicts. Civil Wars, 18(1), online available. doi:10.1080/13698249.2016.1144496.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002D-E348-6
The links between environmental degradation, renewable resource scarcity, and conflict are still poorly understood. One reason for this is the positivist–rationalist bias which is characteristic of the mainstream literature on socio-environment conflicts but has largely remained unaddressed so far. Many studies are therefore unable to utilize insights from environmental sociology, constructivist conflict research, and political ecology. Drawing on this literature and discourse theory, the article develops a constructivist understanding of socio-environmental conflicts. The proposed framework highlights the relevance of discursively constructed identities, situation assessments, and interests for understanding the dynamics of such conflicts. The plausibility of the framework across different contexts is demonstrated by a discussion of the Israeli–Palestinian water conflict and forest conflicts in northern Thailand.