Abstract: Understanding social factors and human dimensions are a crucial step for improving the efficacy of government- or NGO-initiated programs and avoiding implementation crisis. An important question for fisheries management and conservation planning thus remains: when it comes to a government effort on coastal systems, how well does it align with small-scale fishers’ intentions? To contribute to this inquiry, I approach this question from two novel angles – one being the ‘meta-governance’ perspective that seeks a holistic view of stakeholders’ underlying motivations such as values, images and principles; and the other being the ‘governmentality’ lens that privileges the notion of power. Two studies from South Korea in the context of small-scale fisheries governance are used to illustrate the operationalization of these two approaches. Results identify some of the key areas of misalignment between government initiatives (in this case, co-management and fishery zoning) and the prevailing mindsets of fishers. Findings in each case help reveal fundamental reasons why policy implementation might be hampered or frustrated based on interactions with fishers, generating some broad and specific suggestions. This is an important research question to pursue, not only to help ensure the success of government-led programs, but also to ensure the wellbeing and dignity of affected small-scale fishers, who are often the lynchpin of coastal social-ecological systems around the world.
Bio: Andrew Song is a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Sustainable Futures Research Laboratory in the Department of Natural Resource Sciences at McGill University. His current research focuses on the extent and the role of social capital in enhancing the trans-boundary governance of the Great Lakes fisheries. This work is part of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)-funded project entitled “Innovation, science, and trans-boundary environmental governance: Using social capital to enhance collaboration and co-learning in the management of the Great Lakes fisheries”. In the course of the fellowship, Andrew aims to describe the degree of collaboration in the Great Lakes knowledge production system, formalize a psychometric scale for measuring trust and informal communication among various stakeholders, and to determine the effects of several measures of social capital on policy-oriented learning and knowledge sharing within the policy network. His other research interests relate to small-scale fisheries, as a contributor to the SSHRC-funded project called “Too Big to Ignore: Global partnership for small-scale fisheries research” and also concern governance theory, in particular, the refinement of the interactive governance theory. He is familiar with several fishery settings including the Philippines, Malawi, South Korea and Atlantic Canada.