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Conceptualizing power to study social-ecological interactions

Wiebren J Boonstra, Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-07966-210121

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Abstract

My aim is to conceptualize power using social science theory and to demonstrate why and how the concept of power can complement resilience studies and other analyses of social-ecological interaction. Social power as a scientific concept refers to the ability to influence both conduct and context. These two dimensions of power (conduct and context) can be observed by differentiating between various sources of power, including, for example, technology or mental power. The relevance of the conceptualization of power presented here is illustrated with the example of fire as a source of social-ecological power. I conclude by discussing how attention to power can help to address issues of social justice and responsibility in social-ecological interactions.

Key words

fire domestication; power; resilience; social responsibility; social-ecological interactions; sociology

Copyright © 2016 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article  is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.  You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087