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Social Thresholds and their Translation into Social-ecological Management Practices

Lisa Christensen, Yukon College
Naomi Krogman, University of Alberta

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-04499-170105

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Abstract

The objective of this paper is to provide a preliminary discussion of how to improve our conceptualization of social thresholds using (1) a more sociological analysis of social resilience, and (2) results from research carried out in collaboration with the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations of the Yukon Territory, Canada. Our sociological analysis of the concept of resilience begins with a review of the literature followed by placement of the concept in the domain of sociological theory to gain insight into its strengths and limitations. A new notion of social thresholds is proposed and case study research discussed to support the proposition. Our findings suggest that rather than view social thresholds as breakpoints between two regimes, as thresholds are typically conceived in the resilience literature, that they be viewed in terms of collectively recognized points that signify new experiences. Some examples of thresholds identified in our case study include power in decision making, level of healing from historical events, and a preference for small-scale development over large capital intensive projects.

Key words

functionalism; social-ecological resilience; thresholds; Yukon Territory
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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087