Ecosystem services conceptualise the diverse values that ecosystems provide to humanity. This was recognised in the United Kingdom's National Ecosystem Assessment, which noted that appreciation of the full value of ecosystem services requires recognition of values that are shared. By operationalising the shared values concept, it is argued that the contribution of ecosystem services to human well-being can be represented more holistically. This paper considers current understanding of shared values and develops a new metanarrative of shared values beyond the aggregated utilities of individuals. This metanarrative seeks to conceptualise how values can be held both individually and communally, and what this means for identifying their scale and means of enumeration. The paper poses a new reading of the idea of shared values that reconciles the elicitation of pre-formed individual values with the formation and expression of shared social values. The implication is that shared values need to be conceived as normative constructs that are derived through social processes of value formation and expression. Shared values thus do not necessarily exist a priori; they can be deliberated through formal and informal processes through which individuals can separate their own preferences from a broader metanarrative about what values ought to be shared.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was funded through the UK National Ecosystem Assessment Follow-On (Work Package 6: Shared, Plural and Cultural Values) funded by the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Welsh Government, the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), and Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). The Scottish Government Rural and Economic Sciences and Analytical Service Division provided support for Katherine Irvine's development of the manuscript and the European Union Seventh Framework Programme supported Jasper Kenter's contribution under grant agreement no. 315925. The authors would also like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their comments.
© 2016 The Authors
Copyright 2017 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.
- Ecological economics
- Ecosystem service valuation
- Public forests
- Shared values
- Value formation