Title: Applying social networks to govern the commons: an analysis of a sustainable local development initiative in Brazil

Authors: Jorge Verschoore; Lívia Garcez De Oliveira Padilha

Addresses: Unisinos University, Av. Unisinos, 950, São Leopoldo, RS, Brazil ' Unisinos University, Rua Dietrich Hilbk, 494, 93030-070 São Leopoldo, RS, Brazil

Abstract: This paper focuses on social networks established to foster local sustainable development. Advances on the field of networks and social interactions have enriched the debate about the governance of sustainable development. Network governance has become a relevant perspective to enhance the collective efforts for sustainability. In this theoretical context, this paper aims to analyse elements that characterised the network governance of four Agenda 21 forums in the State of Rio Grande do Sul. The analysis has combined qualitative and quantitative approaches. The quantitative approach applied a social network analysis of secondary data collected from the documents of the Agenda 21 forums selected. The qualitative approach made use of observation techniques, documentary analysis and semi-structured interviews with the main actors of the four forums analysed. The results showed that the five elements - common purpose, alignment, involvement, density and centralisation - can ease the attainment of targeted outcomes, as well as contributing to local sustainable development.

Keywords: social networks; sustainable development; network governance; Agenda 21; Brazil; sustainability; sustainable local development; social network analysis; SNA; common purpose; alignment; involvement; density; centralisation.

DOI: 10.1504/IJESD.2017.083309

International Journal of Environment and Sustainable Development, 2017 Vol.16 No.2, pp.167 - 182

Available online: 22 Mar 2017 *

Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article