Exploring the role of boundary work in a social-ecological synthesis initiative

Barbara Schröter, Claudia Sattler, Jean Paul Metzger, Jonathan R. Rhodes, Marie-Josée Fortin, Camila Hohlenwerger, L. Román Carrasco, Örjan Bodin

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikel i vetenskaplig tidskriftPeer review


Inter- and transdisciplinary collaboration in environmental studies faces the challenge of communicating across disciplines to reach a common understanding of scientific problems and solutions in a changing world. One way to address current pressing environmental challenges is to employ a boundary work approach that uses activities across borders of separated field of research. But how can this look like in practice? In this research brief, we self-evaluated the boundary work approach in a synthesis group on socio-ecological systems, based on an online survey with participants. Here, we discuss how boundary work can be used to integrate the knowledge from natural and social scientists both working on social-ecological systems. We found participants were selected to be acted as boundary spanners and were willing to cooperate for solving multidisciplinary issues regarding the understanding, management, and maintenance of ecosystem services. A social-ecological network analysis framework served as a boundary concept and object for communication and knowledge integration. Being familiar with a joint boundary concept like ecosystem services prior to the working group event supported the communication of participants. These results indicate that synthesis initiatives could strategically leverage boundary work through the careful selection of members, with the inclusion of boundary spanners, as well as prior joint identification of boundary concepts and objects.
TidskriftJournal of Environmental Studies and Sciences
StatusE-pub ahead of print - 2023 jan. 27

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Tvärvetenskapliga studier
  • Miljövetenskap


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