dr.ir. S (Severine) van Bommel

dr.ir. S (Severine) van Bommel

Associate professor

Passionate about planetary health, I am an Associate Professor in Communication in Natural Resource Management fascinated by the puzzle of how we can learn our way out of the complex social - environmental pathologies facing our increasingly interconnected and globalised world. Spanning the biophysical and social, my work critically engages human - environment relations in these settings, inspired by insights from interpretive policy analysis, feminist theoretical approaches, post-colonialism and science and technology studies.

Taking an interpretive, interactive approach, I see communication as the construction of meaning in interaction rather than as transfer of information. I investigate how people in interaction: 1) interpret events from their own perspectives, in light of their own experiences; 2) engage with forests, wildlife climate change and so on; and 3) act upon, shape and re-shape broader trends in policy, technology and market. The engagement with what is meaningful to event related actors, and how those meanings - often plural, at times clashing - are enacted, as well as the consequences of this, lies at the heart of my work. When possible, I move beyond explanation to an intervention of some sort intended to improve the situation, such as for marginalised actors. I work in an applied, interdisciplinary and collaborative manner. I have researched these topics for over 15 years in various parts of the world.

My current research interest include the communication of knowledge and expertise for social learning in environmental settings. Present research topics include environmental standards and their effects, citizen science for development, performativity of categories and categorisation in research, storytelling as research method, fieldwork dilemmas and research ethics.


My publications include the edited books Forest-People Interfaces (Wageningen Academic Publishers 2012) and Forest and Nature Governance: a Practice based Approach (Springer 2013). Many of my projects are embedded in international research networks such as CCAFS (CGIAR Research Programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security); CADWAGO (international consortium on climate change adaptation and water governance) and the Interpretive Policy Analysis network whose 2014 conference I co-organised.