Privatizing Stream Restoration in the US

Lave, R., M. Doyle and M. Robertson

Publication Date:

In this paper, we use a case study of the stream restoration field to demonstrate how the particular state and market logics of neoliberalism are shifting both the practice of restoration scientists and the relations between public and private sector science. In particular, the embrace of neoliberal environmental management regimes has intensified the demand for environmental scientists to produce applied science that can: (1) be taught as a standardized package; (2) be used by agencies to justify decisions; and (3) form the basis for new markets in ecosystems services. At this point, private sector science produces the most influential knowledge claims, the most widely used applications, and the primary educational system for stream restoration in the US. We argue that the needs of markets and regulatory agencies are heavily implicated in this privatization process, and that the resulting impacts on restoration science and the dynamics of the stream restoration field in the US thus cannot be described without attention to political–economic relations.

Resource Type:
Peer-reviewed Article

Social Studies of Science