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Developing Detailed Foresight Narratives: a Participatory Technique from the Mekong Region

Tira Foran, CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences
John Ward, CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences
Eric J. Kemp-Benedict, Stockholm Environment Institute
Alex Smajgl, CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-05796-180406

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Abstract

Narratives that explore uncertain events are central to a variety of future-oriented approaches ranging from planning to community visioning. Techniques to create interesting narratives, however, have been overlooked in the peer-reviewed environmental foresight literature. We describe a participatory, multidimensional, pragmatic technique to generate qualitative foresight (“scenario”) narratives. We applied this technique in the Mekong region of Southeast Asia during 11 workshops conducted in 5 countries and 1 regional setting. To improve consideration of systemic connections, narratives were shared between the six settings, allowing participants to understanding cross-scale enablers and inhibitors of desired development outcomes. A second innovative feature is elaboration of character-oriented narratives. We discuss how the technique responds to ongoing methodological challenges of critical inquiry, policy salience, and agency.

Key words

Asia; Mekong; methodology; narrative; participation; scenario
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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087