Kristof van Assche, Sandra Bell & Petruta Teampau
This paper focuses on local constructions of ‘nature’ in governance processes, and the importance of historical and institutional contexts for their genesis and functioning. Through extensive field study in the Romanian Danube Delta, it is demonstrated that the origin and distribution of certain concepts can be credited to a history of conflicts over land and resource use. Considering the implications for participatory natural resource governance, we argue that this capacity of the governance context to produce and transform concepts of nature, poses real challenges. To these challenges can be added legacies of disempowerment and marginalisation, evident in local inhabitants’ images and concepts of nature, which we seek to understand by developing a theory of traumatic nature.