What’s the story? Creating and sustaining environmental networks

Mrill Ingram, Helen Ingram, Raul Lejano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Networks have been embraced as appropriate means for environmental governance because of their potential inclusivity, flexibility, resilience, and ability to comprehend multiple values and ways of knowing. Analysis of networks, however, falls short of accounting for the emergence and persistence of these innovative and complex modes of governance, as well as their failures. We offer a framework for using narrative to understand and evaluate networks. We understand networks to be sets of relationships, between humans and also between humans and their environment, that define and guide behaviour. Narrative is a constitutive element of these networks; narrative and network are co-produced. Narrative analysis enables a critical investigation of environmental action and policy that at the same time captures the variety of environmental relationships and associated meanings and emotions that can inspire collaborative behaviour. Using a case study of the development of alternative agriculture in the United States, we provide a methodology for investigating ‘narrative-networks’ that affords deeper explanations of how and why emergent, often informal and unlikely, environmental networks endure over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)984-1002
Number of pages19
JournalEnvironmental Politics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 30 2014


  • environmental policy
  • environmental politics
  • narrative
  • non-human
  • social network

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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