Unlearning in managing wicked biodiversity problems
Nygren, Nina; Jokinen, Ari; Nikula, Ari (2017)
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Landscape and urban planning
Unlearning is drawing attention in sustainability research. Unlearning old beliefs and assumptions is needed to tackle wicked problems and to make space for learning. We introduce a framework for examining the potential of unlearning as a group process for transformational change. We integrate conceptual elements of unlearning with framing research and analyze 1) factors that facilitate unlearning, 2) the moments of doubt where unlearning and reframing takes place and 3) how unlearning can be operationalized in the analysis of discussion material. We demonstrate the framework by using a conflict situation the conservation of Siberian flying squirrels in the Tampere urban region in Finland as a case study where the participating actors had to unlearn dominant beliefs and assumptions to make space for a more strategic, comprehensive and proactive approach to collaborative conservation. A predictive habitat model of the regional flying squirrel population helped the process, but the decisive support for unlearning was a facilitated dialogue process with diverse assignments. The framework is tailored to experimental group processes by which innovative unlearning and reframing can be initiated and supported for organizational and interorganizational change.
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