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Accountability and legitimacy in transboundary networked forest governance: a case study of the Roundtable on the Crown of the Continent




Jedd, Theresa, author
Betsill, Michele, advisor
Stevis, Dimitris, committee member
Mumme, Stephen, committee member
Cheng, Antony, committee member

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Using a social constructivist ontology to examine key debates and areas of inquiry vis-à-vis the democratic nature of transboundary forest governance, this research examines the case of the Roundtable on the Crown of the Continent, an instance of networked governance. Part I builds up to an examination of the movement toward conceptualizing transboundary networked governance, exploring the claim that government has given way to governance, blurring the lines between public and private, and moving beyond its antecedent models--systems theory and complexity, corporatism, state-in-society, new public management and privatization, inter alia--to reflect a more complicated and inherently collaborative relationship between state, society, and market-based actors. The dissertation project, then, investigates several key questions. At a basic level, it asks, what does networked governance look like, and in the case of the Crown Roundtable, how might these arrangements be adaptive given the absence of an overarching forests treaty? Looking deeper into the implications of networked governance, the project then moves to an investigation of the ways that these processes become legitimate modes of governing and how they allow actors to hold each other accountable. Evidence in the Crown Roundtable suggests that the state is simply one actor among many. In this sea of various players, without the traditional forms of accountability, how do we ensure that governance retains its democratic qualities? The second part (chapters 4, 5, 6, 7) builds from the initial observations in the first part (chapters 1, 2, and 3) that state boundaries in the Crown of the Continent are transected by landscape identities and norms. It examines the implications for maintaining democracy in governance. Given the lack of institutions (such as the juridical, legal, and electoral channels) available at the domestic level, how can actors be held accountable? What do shifts toward a flattened and fragmented forest governance landscape represent in terms of both the ability of diverse actors to relate to one another and also for the participants to see NG as a worthwhile process to engage? In answering these questions, Part II examines whether NG architectures are able to incorporate channels for accountability while simultaneously drawing upon a broad base of participation and maintaining social legitimacy. Finally, the dissertation concludes with thoughts on institutional design. In so doing, it hopefully contributes to an understanding of how to build collaborative networked arrangements that are better able to address transboundary environmental problems.


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