SThe Scalar Organization of Environmental Governance: An Institutionalist Perspective on the Transformation of Water and Marine Governance in the European Union


The project aims to theorize the scalar organization of natural resource governance in the European Union. This research agenda is inspired by critical geographers’ work on the politics of scale. The research will examine an analytical framework derived from theories of institutional change and multi-level governance to fill this theoretical gap. Furthermore, it will review conceptualizations of the state in institutional economics, evaluate their adequacy to capture the role of the state in the dynamics identified, and develop them further. The described processes may imply shifts in administrative levels, shifts in relations between different levels and changes in spatial delimitations of competent jurisdictions that result, for example, from decentralization or the introduction of river basin oriented administrative structures. The research investigates the implications of two European Directives: the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). They both have potentially great significance for the organization of marine and water governance at the level of Member States and below, and adhere to similar regulatory ideas for achieving good ecological status of waters. A multiple case study on changes in the scalar reorganization of marine and water governance that result from the implementation of the Directives will be carried out. It will rely on qualitative and quantitative data gathering based on semi-structured interviews and review of secondary and tertiary sources looking at Portugal, Spain, and Germany. It specifically addresses the role of social ecological transactions, the structure of decision making processes and the role of changes in contextual factors (such as ideologies, interdependent institutions and technology).


Principal Investigators
Thiel, Andreas Prof. Dr. (Ph.D.) (Details) (Environmental Governance)

Duration of Project
Start date: 02/2012
End date: 12/2015

Research Areas
Wasser, Water

Last updated on 2020-07-10 at 14:53