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Situated knowledge-situated legitimacy: Consequences of citizen participation in local environmental governance

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-168
Number of pages10
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


This article examines how situated knowledge produced by citizens affects the construction and understanding of legitimacy in local environmental governance. By scrutinising a case from Finland where local citizens decided to take lake restoration in their own hands, we demonstrate how legitimacy is constructed in a specific local context. The main concepts used to interpret this dynamic are situated knowledge (Haraway, 1988; Lang, 2011) and situated legitimacy (Connelly, Richardson, & Miles, 2006). The paper shows how the local traditions together with the historical and social context have distinct effects on the construction of situated knowledge. Further, situated knowledge not only frames the boundaries and possibilities of local action, but also shapes the interpretations of legitimacy. Approaching the construction of knowledge and legitimacy from this perspective challenges the customary understanding of context in participatory practices and, as we suggest, has also the ability to improve these processes.


  • Citizen participation, Environmental governance, Situated knowledge, Situated legitimacy