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The aim of this dissertation is to study the interaction between agents in natural resource management. The attention is especially directed to changes in the agents’ trust to the interaction, and the consequences of these changes on resource management. Natural resource management is seen as social interaction in which the outcome depends on the actors’ acting and their interpretation of others acting. Conflict is seen as a form of interaction and is defined as social interaction through which the agents’ trust to the interaction is decreasing. The social interaction in managing a watershed called Ån (fictive name) is investigated. This interaction is characterised by conflict and signs of decreasing trust are observed. The agents’ trust to the interaction seem to decrease when they experience the answers from others as inadequate to their actions and /or when they presuppose the others’ actions to reduce their own influence over the interaction. Situations in which the interaction is increasing the agents’ trust to the interaction are also observed. The relations between agents in conflict with each other are observed to be characterised by assumptions about the other’s destructivity. This does not imply that the actors ignore each other. On contrary they are very conscious about each other and take notice of each other’s actions. They interpret each others’ action, purposes and pay attention to the situations and preconditions of eachother. In the dissertation the concepts social responsivity and responsorium are used to describe this phenomenon. In the attempts to restrain the supposed destructivity, the agents may try to restrain each others’ acting, which might reduce the agents’ reciprocal trust to interact. This is the process of conflict escalation. The concepts used and developed in the dissertation make it possible to distinguish and describe the forms and processes of natural resource management. The normative conclusion of the study is that agencies involved in natural resource management need competence in social interaction. When conflicts occur process facilitators schould make deliberative interventions aimed at increasing the actors trust in the interaction. Trust is a prerequisite for development of the knowledge needed to make well-grounded decisions.

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