Networks of action situations in social–ecological systems: current approaches and potential futures

Christian Kimmich*, Melf Hinrich Ehlers, Elke Kellner, Christoph Oberlack, Andreas Thiel, Sergio Villamayor-Tomas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Working paper

1 Citation (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)


“Action situations”—instances of decision-making and agency—have become central to studying social–ecological systems. This special feature collects research using the network of action situations (NAS) approach to structure the way these action situations are embedded into broader interdependent instances of decision-making in different policy or discursive realms, spatial and jurisdictional context, or at different institutional levels. In this editorial, we summarize the key themes that emerged throughout the collection of the 17 articles included in this special feature. The editorial emphasizes the value of NAS in appropriately and sensitively reconstructing relations while pursuing consistency in modes of analysis. It highlights as key themes the complementarity of and disconnects between situations, temporality of NAS, and how NAS can structure the analysis of power in SES. Going further, we suggest expanding on the relational turn, developing NAS archetypes, and studying polycentric governance theories and hypotheses using the NAS approach.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2023

Publication series

NameSustainability Science
PublisherSpringer Japan
ISSN (Print)1862-4065


  • Ecology of games
  • Networks of action situations
  • Polycentricity
  • Situation-relational networks
  • Situational analysis
  • Social–ecological systems


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