research overview

  1. How can we make natural resource governance more collaborative, inclusive, and equitable?

  2. Can participatory processes accommodate power disparities among stakeholders?

  3. How do we do this work in an era with growing institutional distrust, hostility, and an increasing rural-urban divide?

Rivers and other bodies of water – especially those sited in transboundary locations – are increasingly contested venues where knowledge diversity and collaborative engagement are critical for the effective governance and sustainable management of water resources. Although we know a great deal about the rationale for and design of collaborative management and governance processes, the issue of how inclusive and equitable these processes are remains puzzling for those who study, design, and sponsor collaborative engagement projects.

My research works from the interface of rural sociology, the science of stakeholder engagement, and theories of political polarization and rural conservatism to understand how scholars and practitioners can make natural resource governance more collaborative, inclusive, and equitable. 

Click here to learn about my past research projects

Hannah T. Whitley

PhD Candidate | Rural Sociology & Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment