Wednesday 7
Tips or Traps? Advancing understanding to steer clear of impoverishment traps and tipping points
Niki Frantzeskaki
› 10:20 - 10:20 ()
› Antigone 3
Tips or Traps? Advancing understanding to steer clear of impoverishment traps and tipping points
Niki Frantzeskaki  1@  , Keith Tidball  2, *@  , Thomas Elmqvist@
1 : Dutch Research Institute For Transitions  (DRIFT)  -  Website
2 : Dept. of Natural Resources, Cornell University
91709 – Cornell University – Ithaca, New York 14853 US -  États-Unis
* : Corresponding author

Rigidity traps occur in social–ecological systems when institutions become highly connected, self-reinforcing, and inflexible (Gunderson and Holling 2002). Poverty traps, unlike rigidity traps, represent a situation in which people are impoverished by circumstances beyond their immediate control (Bowles et al 2006). Thresholds, or tipping points, indicate regime shifts in social-ecological systems. Carpenter and Brock (2008) emphasize the changing nature of traps in their efforts to model adaptive capacity and traps. This session will pick up where Carpenter and Brock left off by expanding upon not only functional but also discursively constructed traps, and their relative panarchies or “nestedness” in social-ecological system terms. Examples include traps in urban SES contexts brought about by adopting an ecosystem services perspective, traps brought about by societal discourse that emphasizes anthropocentrism, and so forth. The core aim of the symposium is therefore to expand and refine the concept of poverty traps and rigidity (Carpenter and Brock, 2008) and their application, and to work towards developing a typology of traps, and relevant scalar implications, as the collective outcome of the symposium building from a multidisciplinary team of scholars.


Our session welcomes contributions that address the following research questions:

- What are the recognizable institutional dynamics that underlie traps in social-ecological systems? What are the succinct characteristics of traps that can relate to formal and informal institutions?

- What are the mechanisms and means for navigating out and away from traps in social-ecological systems? What is the role of social and governance innovation in steering clear from traps?

- What are the governance lessons for navigating out of traps from the transitions' perspective? What is the role of transition leadership and transition governance in tipping social-ecological systems away from traps?

- What are the paradoxes or oxymora when social-ecological systems transform that relate to traps? What is the relation of rebound effects or reverse salience with traps in social-ecological systems?

Type of Session: A dialogue session

We propose a vibrant, engaging dialogue symposium that will bring together scholars from a diversity of disciplines and approaches (e.g. resilience approach and sustainability transitions approach) to a dialectic deepening of the understanding of traps for human wellbeing. Our aim is to host an interactive session where dialogue and debate will stimulate critical and reflective reconceptualization of traps and tipping points.

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