Peter Vandergeest

Peter Vandergeest
York University · Department of Geography

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76
Publications
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Publications

Publications (76)
Article
This paper draws on research on fisheries based in Taiwan and Thailand, to build an exploratory framework that identifies diverse and multilayered causes for unacceptable working conditions in industrial fisheries. We break down labour relations and working conditions into various elements that can be examined separately, including facilitation of...
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This paper builds on our earlier publication that examined COVID-19, instability and migrant fish workers in Asia during the initial six months of the pandemic. Drawing on interviews with port-based support organizations and various other international organizations, we outline how pre-existing structural marginalizations of seafarers in distant wa...
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This paper seeks to establish how COVID-19 is impacting migrant fish workers through focusing on two global fish hubs, Thailand and Taiwan. Through a careful review of the news reports, social media, and NGO reports and press releases, three significant themes emerged: employment disruptions due to seafood system instabilities; travel or mobility r...
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The media spotlight on controversial ‘slave labour’ practices in the Asia-Pacific region has highlighted poor labour conditions across the seafood sector. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are being promoted by NGOs, businesses and governments to help handle such labour challenges. This systematic review examines the state of knowle...
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In this essay, we highlight the intellectual context that shaped our initial conceptualisation of political forests as dynamic spaces and political ecologies, and how our fieldwork and comparative approach shaped our subsequent elaboration of the concept and its empirical manifestations. Of particular significance was our emphasis on incorporated/r...
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This paper examines the modern anti‐slavery movement through the lens of the slavery scandal in Thailand’s fisheries sector. The slavery framing provoked a response on the part of governments, corporations and NGOs that produced improvements in working conditions. Nevertheless, we argue that while the slavery framing was effective in drawing attent...
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Community-based mangrove management (CBMM) in Thailand has been uniquely successful, so that efforts to promote CBMM elsewhere can potentially learn from the Thai experience. This qualitative research identifies factors contributing to success of community-based mangrove management in four coastal communities along the Andaman Sea during 1980–2017....
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The history of fisheries development in Myanmar is poorly understood. A growing body of evidence suggests that working conditions in some of Myanmar's fisheries are extremely precarious. The treatment of labour in the wider fisheries literature has been fragmented. Drawing together these strands, this paper addresses two central questions through a...
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The paper examines the extension of state regulation of industrial fisheries to include labour relations in the wake of scandals concerning unfree and abusive working conditions in the fishing industry. The focus is on fisheries operated out of Thailand, supplemented by information about working conditions in fisheries based in Myanmar and Taiwan....
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Low-skilled migrant workers provide an important labour source in Atlantic Canada's seafood industry. This research unpacks the experiences of 22 workers from Thailand and the Philippines working in one Atlantic Canadian seafood processing company. We pay particular attention to migration routes, labour conditions, and worker mobility, along with w...
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This introduction to the collection seeks to determine to what extent the specialist regional literature on agrarian and environmental transformations in Southeast Asia has responded to land grab studies, and how scholarship on Southeast Asia contributed to the broader field. We argue that at the centre of land grab studies is what Mara Goldman cal...
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Over the past year, scandals around what has been labelled slave labour in the industrial fisheries sector in Thailand have revealed not only the connections between northern buyers and southern labour practices, but also the relative lack of research on fisheries labour in Asia and the global South. The slavery and trafficking framings pervading t...
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The authors show how certification assembles ‘sustainable’ territories through a complex layering of regulatory authority in which both government and nongovernment entities claim rule-making authority, sometimes working together, sometimes in parallel, sometimes competitively. It is argued that territorialisation is accomplished not just through (...
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This essay makes a case for centering the questions of ecological knowledge in order to understand how environmental governance and resource access are being remade in the frontier ecologies of Asia. These frontiers, consisting of the so-called uplands and coastal zones, are increasingly subject to new waves of extractive and conservation activitie...
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Certification of products from aquatic farming - aquaculture – is contributing to sustainable production, but it also has serious limits. The implication of these limits is that certification needs to be seen as but one of a wider array of strategies for regulating sustainable production. Assumptions that countries in the Global South are unwilling...
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Can we describe third party eco-certification by transnational organizations like the Forest Stewardship Council, Marine Stewardship Council, and the Aquaculture Stewardship Council as a new form of extraterritoriality in relation to the territorial sovereignty of states? In this paper we outline how transnational eco-certification can reinforce lo...
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Can we describe third party eco-certification by transnational organizations like the Forest Stewardship Council, Marine Stewardship Council, and the Aquaculture Stewardship Council as a new form of extraterritoriality in relation to the territorial sovereignty of states? In this paper we outline how transnational eco-certification can reinforce lo...
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We examine the significance of a specific type of political violencecounterinsurgencyin the making of political forests, providing a link between literatures on the political ecology of forests and the geographies of war. During the Cold War, particularly between the 1950s and the end of the 1970s, natures were remade in relation to nation-states i...
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In this response to an article by Holly High, “The Implications of Aspirations: Reconsidering Resettlement in Laos,” published in Critical Asian Studies in December 2008 (vol. 40, no. 4, pp. 531–50), the authors do not dispute the notion that many people in Laos have aspirations for modernity and development. However, they are at odds with High in...
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ABSTRACT This paper uses themes from political ecology to develop insights into the billion dollar shrimp aquaculture sector in Thailand. We find that corporations can exercise only limited control over shrimp production and that there is no clear trend toward larger operations. We explain the continued viability of small owner-operated farms by lo...
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With the advent of widespread ecological and socioeconomic concerns over the model of "green revolution" agriculture in the global South, social movements emerged in the 1970s and 1980s to work with farmers to develop "alternative" agricultural practices. In the case of Southeast Asia, these were the seeds of current-day organic production, which h...
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ABSTRACTA pervasive assumption in the critical literature and practice of development has been that capitalism and state-building has undermined relatively autonomous village communities in which there were equalizing institutions of mutual help or gift-giving. These assumptions tend to retain the dualisms of modernization theories by reversing the...
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This article explores how development programming in rural poverty and the environment can work with indigenous peoples. It draws on research conducted in Asia and Latin America to suggest how indigeneity can be understood as specific kinds of marginalisation intersecting with self-identification and recognition as indigenous. Current obstacles to...
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This paper examines two distinct environmental regulatory networks for shrimp farming, one based in certification, the other in community and local government regulation. Field research in Southern Thailand shows that local communities and local governments are currently the most effective regulators of shrimp farming. Emerging environmental certif...
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This paper examines the origins, spread and practices of professional forestry in Southeast Asia, focusing on key sites in colonial and post-colonial Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. Part 1, in an earlier issue of this journal, challenged popular and scholarly accounts of colonial forestry as a set of simplifying practices exported from Europe and...
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This paper examines the origins, spread, and practices of professional forestry in Southeast Asia, focusing on key sites in colonial and post-colonial Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. Part 1 challenges popular and scholarly accounts of colonial forestry as a set of simplifying practices exported from Europe and applied in the European colonies. We...
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Development is inherently about reorganising space, thus all development has the potential of causing displacement, most of which is indirect. Greater attention to indirect development- induced displacement could shift our attention from questions of how to justify and reconstitute lives and livelihoods after displacement to finding ways of prevent...
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This paper describes a research-training project for building social science research capacity at the National University of Laos (NUOL),supported by IDRC. At the international level, the project was structured as a flexible network of resource persons from six countries. The main successes of the project turned out to be unanticipated: the project...
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The policy paper is based on a workshop organized by the York Centre for Asian Research and Centre for Research on Latin American and the Caribbean, both at York University. Scholars in North America have become more aware that some migrants (migrant workers, immigrants and to some extent refugees) are increasingly organizing their lives transnatio...
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The first part of this article argues for the usefulness of the concept of racialization in understanding the intersection between identity and resource politics in Southeast Asia. The production of space through cadastral mapping, forest reservation, and community forests has all been racialized to the degree that these spaces are also associated...
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Le developpement etant foncierement affaire de reorganisation de l’espace, tout developpement est susceptible d’entrainer un deplacement de population, le plus souvent indirect. Si l’on pretait une plus grande attention a ces deplacements indirects, on cesserait peut-etre de se demander comment les justifier – et comment reconstituer apres coup les...
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How have national and state governments the world over come to “own” huge expanses of territory under the rubric of “national forest,” “national parks,” or “wastelands”? The two contradictory statements in the above epigraph illustrate that not all colonial administrators agreed that forests should be taken away from local people and “protected” by...
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Thailand is the world’s largest producer of cultured shrimp. Despite problems with poor environmental conditions and outbreaks of disease that have led to the large-scale abandonment of culture areas along the coast, production has remained high. A primary factor has been the establishment of marine shrimp farming in Thailand’s rice growing Central...
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This paper uses themes from political ecology to develop insights into the billion dollar shrimp aquaculture sector in Thailand. We find that corporations can exercise only limited control over shrimp production and that there is no clear trend toward larger operations. We explain the continued viability of small owner-operated farms by looking at...
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Dearden et al . (1998) have suggested that my arguments for backing away from zealously pursuing the expansion of protected areas in Thailand (Vandergeest 1996) means giving benefits to local people with no consideration for the wider community or future generations. Let me begin my response by reminding readers of my central argument: that the dri...
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/ Intensive shrimp culture has been confined to relatively narrow bands of land along the seashores of tropical developing nations due to the need for large volumes of saltwater for water exchange during the culture period. Recent developments in Thailand suggest, however, that this close association could soon be a thing of the past. Large numbers...
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Intensive shrimp culture has been confined to relatively narrow bends of land along the seashores of tropical developing nations due to the need for large volumes of saltwater for water exchange during the culture period. Recent developments in Thailand suggest, however, that this close association could soon be a thing of the past. Large numbers o...
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We usually think that national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, and other areas reserved for the protection of nature are good things but the displacement effects of protected areas have made them highly controversial in many parts of the world. However, many environmental groups see an expanded protected areas system as central to the preservation of...
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Conflicts between local people and managers of protected areas (PAs) have often undermined conservation goals in Asia. Since the 1970s, conservation planners have tried to address these problems by incorporating rural development into PA planning. More recently, many conservationists have argued for increasing community involvement in PA management...
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In Thailand, as elsewhere, the administrative definition of forest has changed from one based on classification by species to one based on territory. This process was an important facet of the more general process by which the central government claimed a monopoly on the administration of property rights to natural resources. The process took place...
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This paper examines the major trends since the 1950s in social science writing on forest management in Southeast Asia. Southeast Asia is simultaneously rich in and dependent on natural resources, both for local and national use or sale. Among renewable resources, forest products have played critical roles in the region's national, provincial, and l...
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Since the Second World War, an important school of social science scholarship in Southeast Asia has explained pre-national social hierarchy in terms of religious cosmology, or religious beliefs in the ordering principles of merit and karma (Heine-Geldern, 1956; Geertz, 1980; Errington, 1989). With respect to Siam/Thailand, Tambiah (1970, 1976, 1984...
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The shadowplay of Southeast Asia has often been understood as a reflection of local cultural patterns, and it has therefore been the object of much scholarly interest. That interest has been directed especially at the Javanese play, although much has also been written about Balinese and Malaysian shadowplay performances. The shadowplay performance...
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Studies of what we call modern societies frequently take one of two major perspectives. The first emphasizes an ever-increasing constraining or regulatory power (Weber's iron cage [1976], or Foucault's discipline and regulation [1979, 1980]). The second tradition seems to contradict the first by emphasizing trends, such as a “democratic revolution”...
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This paper follows from David Booth's (1985) article in World Development in which he identifies underlying metatheoretical problems in Marxist-influenced development sociology which have led to the current impasse in the field. These problems include a commitment to demonstrating the “necessity” of economic and social patterns, system teleology, a...
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A control-oriented model is presented for a hydrogen producing plant consisting of a conventional water electrolysis process and a photo-assisted water electrolytic installation which utilizes solar energy via a suitable semiconductor/electrolyte assembly. A control strategy for daily hydrogen production is illustrated by a numerical example. The p...
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This discussion paper explores how a conceptual framework drawing on political ecology and science studies might contribute to understanding trends and tensions in alternative agriculture in Thailand, and by extension, other global south sites. The paper is drawn from a collaborative writing project on alternative agriculture, organic food, and agr...

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