Collective capabilities shape the co-production of nature’s contributions to people in the alpine agricultural system of the Maurienne valley, France

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Nature’s contributions to people (NCP) do not flow automatically from ecosystems to society, but they result from a co-production process of interactions between societal and ecological systems. In this study, we used the collective capabilities approach to address the social dimensions of co-production of the material NCP of cheese. These are the benefits collective structures retrieve from social-ecological interactions that individuals could not have achieved on their own and which frequently exceed pure instrumental values. Collective structures mobilise different types of social capitals in order to generate these collective capabilities. Here, we specifically investigated linkages between collective capabilities and their contributions to common perceptions and local identities. We conducted 44 semi-structured interviews with two distinct different actors’ groups in a French Alpine agricultural system surrounding the production of the quality labelled Beaufort cow cheese. We analysed the interviews qualitatively and conducted quantitative analyses as well as content and sentiment analysis to identify the different levels and types of collective investment mobilised by actors to generate collective capabilities. We found that collective capabilities involved in NCP co-production contributed to common perceptions and to specific dimensions of local identities. These can be viewed as the results of relational value construction. Further, the analysis suggests that collective capability relies on dense social interactions between actors that contribute to a good quality of life in itself. This study advances previous attempts to further investigate the role of intra-societal relations for NCP co-production.
Original languageEnglish
JournalRegional Environmental Change
Publication statusPublished - 3 Nov 2021

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