Topic: Contested coastal zone governance - ensure legitimacy in the face of disagreement/conflict
In the coastal zone, a growing number of interests from a variety of sectors are competing for the same space, generating challenges for participatory planners and stakeholders. Participatory processes focusing on consensus are often promoted as desirable to enduring the legitimacy of coastal zone governance/planning/management. In practice, however, the legitimacy of coastal zone governance/planning/management is both constructed and contested by stakeholders with divergent interests, values and world-views. In this paper, our point of departure is how legitimacy and unity can be ensured in situations where disagreement and conflict rather than consensus dominate the context. We take a critical approach towards the deliberative turn in environmental management, and an active approach towards dealing with conflict. We argue that it is necessary with better insights about how consensus involves exclusion and power struggles and narrows the range of issues that gets to the table, to design a more legitimate governance system.
Understanding how different stakeholders, planners and decision-makers make and assess legitimacy claims regarding coastal zone governance can contribute to a deeper understanding of how to deal with disagreement and conflict in a field with increased conflict levels.