Discourse Is A Shared Way Of Apprehending The World

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Discourse is a 'shared way of apprehending the world ' (Dryzek, 1997). It is understood as ‘the ensemble of ideas, concepts and categories through which meaning is given to social and physical realities, and which is produced and reproduced through an identifiable set of practices’ (Hajer, 2006: 67). Discourse favors certain description of reality and empowers certain policy tools while marginalizing others (Litfin, 1994). Discourses frame the policy debates, limit what are considered ‘reasonable’ options and inform policy-making process (Gregorio et al, 2014). Discourses represent the dominant representatives, understandings and knowledge regimes present in governance debate and they are deeply embedded in the formation of knowledge. The discourses are produced based on the perception and role of the actors (Keller, 2011). Different discourses promote specific conceptualization of environmental problem including the causes of the problems and on their solutions. For instance, discourse on forests seeing as important carbon sink could be different from seeing forest as source of local livelihoods or source of biodiversity. Therefore it is crucial to understand the different construction of meaning by different actors.
Current international debates about climate change are shaped by different, often conflicting but also partly overlapping environmental discourses (den Besten et al., 2014). Authors such as Dryzek (1997, 2005), Hoffman (2011), Bäckstrand & Lövbrand (2007) and

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