Practicing sociogeomorphology: relationships and dialog in river research and management

Simon A. Mould*, Kirstie Fryirs, Richie Howitt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Sustainable river management requires strong participation from technical and nontechnical experts. However, in many cases, the nontechnical element is lacking. This paper explores possibilities for participation that can emerge from a reorientation toward dialog. This reorientation is supported by a sociogeomorphological approach, which encourages recognition of the physical and social coproduction of a fluvial landscape, including a history of colonization and landscape degradation. Recognition of this sociogeomorphic context invited dialog with stakeholders involved in river management, which revealed opportunities for improving relationships in river management. The paper argues that dialog supports building interpersonal relationships as a basis for river management, where relationships could replace “stakes” as a structure for participation. Following reorientation, relationship development and maintenance, through dialog, emerges as a key activity of environmental management. Because dialog happens at the interpersonal scale, a relational approach has potential implications for researchers, practitioners, and stakeholders in many fields of environmental management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-120
Number of pages15
JournalSociety and Natural Resources
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • cross-cultural research
  • environmental history
  • participation
  • relational thinking
  • river restoration
  • stakeholder relationships


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