Placing Stakeholder Formation in Central Oregon's Deschutes Basin

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Society & Natural Resources

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This paper examines the processes by which “stakeholder” status is constructed, and the importance of sense of place to that construction in collaborative water resource governance processes. Water management often involves collaborative governance, but there can be differences between who has an interest in the outcome, and who is formally invited to participate as a “stakeholder.” We examine a case study of a collaborative water governance process in Central Oregon, and found that existing models of stakeholder formation present in scholarly literature did not fully explain the dynamics of stakeholder participation. We propose a two-step “Interest-Participation” model of stakeholder formation: to be considered stakeholders, a group must not only have an interest in the outcome but must actively navigate barriers to participation. We moreover argue that collaborative engagement is an embodiment of sense of place, emphasizing the importance of competing place meanings in resource governance processes.



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