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Berglund, Brita, 2010. A matter of trust : social interaction in a nature conservation issue in the Eastern slopes of Lake Vättern. Second cycle, A1E. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Urban and Rural Development



Nature conservation issues are often complex and difficult to handle. Different actors and
interests are involved and it is generally agreed that constructive interaction is a crucial
part of dealing with these issues. According the theory which forms the basis of this thesis,
conflict is defined as social interaction during which the actors trust in the interaction is
decreasing. Signs of conflict and diminished trust in the interaction are that these actors
make attempts to change the situation and some of these attempts can lead to increased

The aim of this thesis is to describe the social interaction that takes place when people
move from conflict to dialogue. A qualitative case study of a nature conservation issue in
Östra Vätterbranterna, an area east of Lake Vättern, is presented. The parties involved
managed to make the transition from conflict to dialogue in the period under study – from
1998 to 2004. The conflict concerned forest production versus conservation of woodland
key habitats. To deal with the matter, 'Project Östra Vätterbranterna' was initiated in 1998
with the participation of five (later seven) organisations, representing the interests of
different stakeholders. Representatives for the organisations involved were interviewed.

The study shows many examples of attempts to change the situation during the conflict
period. They are e.g. actors withdrawing from the interaction; attempts at moving the issue
to another arena; changing or questioning the credibility, legitimacy or identity of others;
trying to increase own credibility and legitimacy; and even the occasional use of violence.
It also shows that, at the end of the study period, the interactions between the same parties
had dialogic qualities and were characterised by trust. Working from the assumption that
particular forms of interaction contribute to increased trust, certain trust-promoting
interactions are identified and described. They are for example: meta-communication;
establishing a legitimate arena for dealing with the issue; facilitation of project group
meetings; and concerted attempts to reduce misunderstandings. In addition, trust was
increased by focusing on things that the involved parties could agree upon, as well as by
considerate communication with landowners affected by conservation plans. Individual
traits and initiatives also played an important role, as well as giving the whole process
ample time to mature. In general it can be assumed that many of the trust-promoting
interactions identified in this study could be adapted to other situations in order to increase
the possibilities of trust.

Main title:A matter of trust
Subtitle:social interaction in a nature conservation issue in the Eastern slopes of Lake Vättern
Authors:Berglund, Brita
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2010
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A1E
Student's programme affiliation:NG001 Environmental Communication and Management - Magister (1year master) Programme 60 HEC
Supervising department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
(LTJ, LTV) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
Keywords:conflict, dialogue, trust, social interaction, nature conservation
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Nature conservation and land resources
Deposited On:20 Aug 2010 12:01
Metadata Last Modified:20 Apr 2012 14:15

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