Embodied rationality: a framework of human action in water infrastructure governance

Marisa K. Manheim, Christy Spackman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Critics assert that prevailing assumptions of human behavior limit pathways for infrastructure adaptations. Embodied rationality offers scholars and practitioners an alternative framework that characterizes rational decisions as those producing adaptive outcomes for human–nature systems. By emphasizing the body's role in perception, embodied rationality provides a bridge between relational and individualistic conceptions of human–nature. It also facilitates theorizing infrastructures as inherently co-constructed. Practices based on embodied rationality can increase knowledge pluralism in planning and help infrastructure managers avoid costly mistakes. Water managers activate embodied rationality when offering tastings to engage consumers in deliberations about the direct potable reuse of wastewater. Embodied rationality, therefore, offers a timely framework of particular relevance to the governance of contested sustainability transitions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101170
JournalCurrent Opinion in Environmental Sustainability
StatePublished - Jun 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • General Social Sciences


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