Dr. Charon Marais


Field of research

  • Sustainability: Transformational corporate governance
  • Collective action in large scale systems for water security
  • Complex systems transformation


Transformative Collaborative Governance Relations Towards Sustainability: The Case of the Stellenbosch River Collaborative


Charon’s research studies governance through a transformational lens, focusing on multi-stakeholder collaboration in soft systems thinking and social learning for adaptive management strategies in social-ecological systems. Charon has always worked across disciplines, economic development strategies and governance policies, founded in political and business studies. Her primary interest lies in multi-stakeholder collaboration for water security. With her research she initiated and actively manages the Stellenbosch River Collaborative (SRC) with WWF-Nedbank Green Trust funding. Her research puts forth a preparatory lens for collective action, that is new beginnings of partnerships to solve intractable situations, especially in unfavorable even overtly adverse and uncertain situations. Despite the large and growing set of theoretical transdisciplinary frameworks that assume legitimacy in formal and structured communities a gap also remains in our understanding of multi-stakeholder interactions, and more broadly organizing across multiple and persistent boundaries. She builds on, and extend, a critical complexity perspective on existing frameworks and context to explain how the development of self-reflexive frames enables different parties to engage with multiple stakeholders.