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Deepening Problem Definitions

Deepening Problem Definitions

(p.173) Chapter Nine Deepening Problem Definitions
Bringing in the Future
William Ascher
University of Chicago Press

This chapter discusses the dimension of deepening problem definitions. A “problem definition” typically focuses on particular values to be pursued and protected and a diagnosis of the obstacles to pursuing these values. Moreover, cases that illustrate particular challenges and approaches for overcoming problem definitions are presented. The problem definition would have to include consideration of the importance of customary user rights in tension with conservation concerns. The examples presented provide a sense of the dimensions of deepening problem definitions: expanding the set of goals or values, expanding the time frame of causes and consequences, incorporating uncertainty, enriching the explanations that account for existing conditions and possible consequences, and opening the range of strategies embedded within the problem definition. Determining where the process problems arise is possible if one recognizes that the policy process consists of analytically distinct though interconnected functions.

Keywords:   problem definitions, customary user rights, conservation, policy process, uncertainty

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