Doctoral Dissertation Defense by Dumitrita Suzana Mic

Event information
Venue:MMC, GC271A


Florida International University University Graduate School

Doctoral Dissertation Defense


Producing Collaboration Through Community-Level Processes of Climate Change and Water Management Planning

by Dumitrita Suzana Mic

While much attention has been given to the ways in which local communities may be impacted by climate change, this dissertation is the first ethnographic study on the decision making processes of local agencies charged with developing climate change policy and adaptation approaches. The primary purpose of this dissertation research is to document how governmental agencies in southern Florida integrate climate change into their management tasks while dealing with political resistance.

Using multiple research methods, including ethnographic fieldwork, participant observation, semi-structured interviews and document research, I analyze the activities of the Miami-Dade County Climate Change Advisory Task Force Committee (MDC-CCATF), as well as the water management practices of the regional water management agency, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD). My findings include the following: (1) climate change is not merely a scientific or technologic endeavor, but a cultural and political one (2) cultural patterns of water management shape the ways scientific tools, models in particular, are employed in decision-making practices and (3) collaborative planning practices produce both new publics and new social worlds.

My dissertation concluded that ethical concerns over climate change impacts coalesced to form a climate change movement. Such evolution has created pressure for change throughout the local bureaucracy. However, gains from certain economic activities, particularly real estate, and the difficulty of defining a timeframe or specific magnitude for climate-change impacts, are key challenges to implementing climate change adaptation measures.

Date: July 2, 2015
Department: Global and Sociocultural Studies
Time: 12 p.m.
Co-Major Professors: Laura Ogden & Gail Hollander
Place: University Park, GL156