As a sustainability scientist, Lize Swartz focuses on closely aligning her research to the central objectives of sustainability science, particularly building and retaining resilience and adaptability for the sustainable functioning of human-environmental systems. In her own research she adapts the key assumptions and principles of social-ecological systems theory to the study of water supply systems, showing that their redefinition as socio-hydrological systems promotes the recognition of the symbiotic relationship between hydrological systems and the social systems whereby they are governed that serves as a foundation for sustainable water governance. For her PhD she regards the collapse and recovery of socio-hydrological systems in South Africa triggered by water scarcity, the links between socio-hydrological systems collapse and sustainability-climate crises, and the effects thereof on the adaptability and resilience of socio-hydrological systems. Her research is centered on notions of social justice and equity and therefore critically scrutinizes the responses of water users to sustainability-climate crises and the influence of power on (adaptive) responses to change in socio-hydrological systems.
Besides conducting research, Lize currently serves as the Editor In Chief of Bliss, the ISS Blog on Global Development and Social Justice (www.issblog.nl).
Areas of interest:
Evolving water governance paradigms in times of uncertainty and change
The role of water users in enacting just sustainability transitions for socio-hydrological resilience
The social dynamics of complex, intersecting climate-sustainability crises, including the politics of crisis framing and the effects of power on processes of building resilience and adaptive capacity
Adaptive (self-)governance of water use behaviour by natural resource users and effects on socio-hydrological resilience; the application of local knowledges in adaptively governing socio-hydrological systems
The role of social media in social learning for adaptive water governance