The Social Identity Approach to Understanding Stakeholder Conflict in Environmental and Natural Resources Management
Social conflict in environmental and natural resources management (ENRM) presents challenges for balancing the sustainable use of resources with maintenance of the wellbeing of society and the natural environment. When a controversial change to a land use is proposed, conflict tends to play out between social actors considered the stakeholders: groups of people with a like interest and collective purpose.
The social identity approach is a family of theoretical perspectives from the realm of social psychology concerned with the way individuals identify themselves with groups, and the way groups interact with each other.
This PhD project has used the social identity approach to explore new ways of understanding how social conflict plays out in ENRM. The conceptual fit of ENRM stakeholders with the intergroup relations in the social identity approach has been examined through interviews with ENRM practitioners. A case study of a proposal to develop a large scale wind energy facility in King Island, Tasmania, has been undertaken to test the use of the social identity approach in a real-world setting.