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What's Nature Got To Do With It? A Situated Historical Perspective on Socio-natural Commodities

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Abstract

Nature(s) have been commodified since the early days of capitalism, but through processes and socio-natural relationships mediated by their times, histories and localities. While the conditions under which nature's commodities are being trademarked today may be new, their potential for commodification is not. Commodifications of nature should not come as a surprise to environmental social scientists and activists. In this article, I argue that commodification of ‘nature's products, places and processes’ produces new sorts of socio-natures. Situated histories of rubber are particularly relevant because, like carbon, ecosystem services and other recently commodified natures, rubber sits comfortably on the line between a fictitious commodity and a commodity produced explicitly for market: the latex alone has almost no use value, and to give it any exchange value, it requires processing. Yet analytically, it is still considered a ‘natural commodity’, different from ‘synthetic rubber’ and other tradable tree latexes in qualities and socio-natural characteristics. However, it is the social relations constituting rubber's production and trade in various rainforest and agro-forestry environments that have given it a positive or negative connotation, rather than its natural properties or the ecological contexts within which it has been produced. By situating rubber in three of its globally important temporal and spatial contexts, I show how it has been subjected to fairy-tale-like stories that masked and naturalized its commodity lives of the moment. Understanding how history is told or remains untold is thus an essential part of the politics of knowledge production, but also of human experience and mobilization for change. It should be part of any political ecology analysis.

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Article
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Struggles over land are a vibrant issue in today's Indonesia and especially pressing in Central Kalimantan, as it is the new frontier of coal extraction. The mining areas overlap with the land used by ethnic groups, all subsumed under the term 'Dayak'. Linking to ethnic revitalization since the 2000s, the Dayak Misik (Dayak, wake up) scheme promises 'indigenous Dayak' to secure formal rights to land. In the framework of what I call 'frontier ecologies' , members of the ethnic group Murung implemented the scheme and may be successful in securing access and rights to land in the future. However, the semi-nomadic Punan Murung rejected the programme because it contradicts their dynamic approach to space in the framework of place-based, interrelated ecologies. Thus, essen-tializations and instrumentalizations of ethnicity and the constitution of space affirm current hegemonial notions of land and indigenous rights, in which either people or plurality are excluded.
... Thus, I combine and extend conceptual approaches of political ecology with ontology and link this to Mario Blaser's concept of political ontologies, in which he merges classical aspects of political ecology with approaches of multiple ontologies (Blaser 2013). I also refer to recent works in the field of political ecology, which focus not only on power, conflict, access, and control in environmental struggles but also on the materiality of the landscape and natural resources, as well as socio-natural histories (Li 2014;Peluso 2012;Harcourt 2017). According to Nevins and Peluso (2008), the changing socio-natures, the relation between the societal and the environmental dimension, of Southeast Asia can be seen as a result of successive commoditization processes and the entailed transformation of mutual relations between nature, people, and places. ...
Article
Full-text available
Struggles over land are a vibrant issue in today’s Indonesia and especially pressing in Central Kalimantan, as it is the new frontier of coal extraction. The mining areas overlap with the land used by ethnic groups, all subsumed under the term ‘Dayak’. Linking to ethnic revitalization since the 2000s, the Dayak Misik (Dayak, wake up) scheme promises ‘indigenous Dayak’ to secure formal rights to land. In the framework of what I call ‘frontier ecologies’, members of the ethnic group Murung implemented the scheme and may be successful in securing access and rights to land in the future. However, the semi-nomadic Punan Murung rejected the programme because it contradicts their dynamic approach to space in the framework of place-based, interrelated ecologies. Thus, essentializations and instrumentalizations of ethnicity and the constitution of space affirm current hegemonial notions of land and indigenous rights, in which either people or plurality are excluded.
... We argue that grand generalizations of PES -often pivoting around a 'Wunderian' PES ontology (Wunder, 2005(Wunder, , 2015 underpinned by neoliberal philosophy -all too often overlook alternative relationalities that actors mobilize to make sense of PES. A 'PES conceit' approach risks imbuing and dismissing this complexity through a wholesale relegation of PES as hegemonic neoliberalism, thereby obscuring the situational history, practice and scale of the processes involved (Barnett, 2005;Larner, 2003;Peluso, 2012), and silencing the agency of the related actors. Paradoxically, this position risks keeping the 'neoliberal monster' alive -the very one we try to escape from. ...
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In this commentary we respond to Fletcher and Büscher's (2017) recent article in this journal on Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) as neoliberal ‘conceit’. The authors claim that focusing attention on the micro-politics of PES design and implementation fails to expose an underlying neoliberal governmentality, and therefore only reinforces neoliberal capitalism as both the problem and solution of ecological crises. In response, we argue that a focus on the actions of local actors is key to understanding how and why such governmentality fails or succeeds in performing as theorized. Grand generalizations fixated on a particular hegemonic and neoliberal PES ontology overlook how actors intertwine theory and practice in ways which cannot be explained by a dominant structural theory. Such generalizations risk obscuring the complexity and situational history, practice and scale of the processes involved. Rather than relegating variegated and hybrid forms of what actually emerges from PES interventions as neoliberal conceit, we argue that an actor-oriented, ‘weak theory’ approach permits PES praxis to inform knowledge generation. This would open up a more inclusive and politically engaging space for thinking about and realizing political change.
... REDD+ has also become a frequent topic within the literature that critically discusses payment for environmental services and the commodification of nature in general (e.g. Peluso, 2012). Since REDD+ is a relatively new phenomenon, the main contribution from this body of research is a theoretical discussion of the potential implications of REDD+ at various levels. ...
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This thesis discusses REDD+ as an example of a highly ambitious global environmental policy framework conceived at international levels and implemented at local levels in forest communities across the Global South. The main objective is to investigate the encounter between the REDD+ global agenda, that is, the effort to reduce forest-based CO2 emissions and thereby mitigate climate change, and the pre-existing social contexts to which REDD+ is introduced, and which REDD+ aims to regulate, modify and change. Inspired by scholars working within two partly overlapping fields of research, Political Ecology and the Anthropology of Development, this investigation of REDD+ explores both the discursive powers inherent in REDD+ and the assumptions on which REDD+ is based, as well as the particularities of existing socially embedded practices, meanings and relationships at local level in Zanzibar. The analysis is based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork in Zanzibar investigating the REDD+ project known as HIMA at multiple levels - both at the level of Mitini - one of the local communities invited by HIMA to join the REDD+ scheme, as well as at policy levels among project staff and policy makers in Zanzibar Town. Data was collected through observation at about 45 project-related meetings; and through numerous informal and more than 100 formal interviews with informants before, between and after these meetings. The researcher’s fluency in colloquial Swahili made direct data collection and participant observation possible. An investigation at multiple levels allowed for following the HIMA project at different stages in the implementation process, that is, from before its initiation in 2010 until after its end in 2014. The four individual papers that form part of this thesis provide insights into different elements and aspects of the REDD+ policy framework, and the different stages of the process of introducing REDD+ in Zanzibar. By discussing both how the various elements of the REDD+ policy framework are incorporated into practice and at times subverted by local actors, the four papers offer valuable insights into how REDD+ is both ‘constituted’ and ‘contested’ by the actors involved in its implementation. The papers demonstrate how the REDD+ policy framework is not introduced into a vacuum. When introduced to Zanzibar, REDD+ is conditioned and affected by historical and socio-political relations and experiences, local realities and embedded practices. These factors all have implications for the implementation of REDD+, and the level to which practical implementation is in line with the policy design and intentions. At a more general level, the thesis thus advances our understanding of why various interventions and development initiatives often do not deliver as planned. The papers also show that certain elements of the REDD+ policy framework have constituting and disciplining effects on the HIMA project. The procedure of carbon accounting, that is, the process of calculating changes in forest cover and carbon stocks, and furthermore translating these into measurable carbon units, was considered a technical necessity. Carbon accounting could hence not be discarded by the project, despite local project staff’s serious reservations about this type of practice. The thesis argues that by not taking into account the existing historical and socio-political context of local livelihood struggles, the HIMA project not only risks failing to achieve its expected goals of reduced forest loss and CO2 emissions, it also risks consolidating existing structural inequalities, exacerbating conflicts, and, moreover, creating new ones. Further, since the validation of the HIMA Carbon Project is still pending, and since HIMA has still not sold any carbon, the 45 local communities that have signed Community Forest Management Agreements with the Zanzibar government risk finding themselves in the precarious situation of having signed away their rights to use forest resources while receiving little or no revenues or compensation in return. In this way, REDD+ in Zanzibar has created new uncertainties and relations of dependence at local levels. I argue that the ethnographic material presented describing these processes provides new and empirically grounded insights into the broad variety of dilemmas project managers - as well as local communities - face when implementing PES-based REDD+ projects at local level.
... Por lo tanto, las perspectivas indígenas sobre el desarrollo (económico) en sus territorios desafían las aproximaciones hegemónicas y son movilizadas en disputas por diferentes usos de los recursos en el territorio (Escobar, 2006) que alteran las relaciones históricamente establecidas entre la comunidad y el medio ambiente (Aliste, Folchi & Núñez, 2018). Es decir, frente a conflictos socioambientales diferentes identidades se asocian a ciertas convicciones y aspiraciones en torno a la naturaleza, que al atribuirles las características "bueno" y "malo" con el fin de imponer una opción sobre la otra para justificar un modelo y uso del recurso frente al otro (Peluso, 2012) causando conflictos. Los ejes centrales de estas disputas son identidades, el medio ambiente y el modelo de desarrollo (Escobar, 2006;Latta & Wittman, 2010). ...
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La gobernanza permite aproximarse a las interacciones entre el Estado, el mercado y la sociedad civil de forma holística al incluir en el análisis del desarrollo social grupos no tradicionales. Esta perspectiva teórica considera a los pueblos indígenas como un actor relevante en los procesos de toma de decisión en torno al uso de los recursos naturales. La consulta indígena creada como parte de la institucionalidad ambiental de Chile en el año 2013 fue concebida como espacio de articulación y negociación con el objetivo de empoderar las posturas y demandas indígenas. Sin embargo, las diferentes visiones de la naturaleza que se articulan en el marco de la consulta indígena complejizan el desarrollo de la evaluación de impacto ambiental en territorios indígenas. Asimismo, el mecanismo no considera la heterogeneidad dentro y entre las comunidades indígenas en un mismo territorio, ni cumple con asignarles un mayor control sobre los recursos naturales en sus territorios. Frente a ese escenario cabe preguntarse cómo se valida y legitima la consulta indígena frente a los pueblos indígenas y cuál es su contribución a la redefinición de su rol en los procesos de negociación en torno a proyectos extractivos en sus territorios. Mediante el análisis de la consulta indígena como parte de la Evaluación de Impacto Ambiental del proyecto hidroeléctrico Añihuerraqui en este artículo se evidencia la división de las comunidades indígenas afectadas, así como la limitación de su participación en el proceso de toma de decisión generando incertidumbre entre los actores involucrados.
... Embedded in development dynamics, massive inputs of nitrogen and phosphorus into coastal environments generally result from both massive perturbation of the water cycle upstream and from growing human pressure on coastal environments, which have been broadly characterized as socio-technical historicized assemblages (Barnes and Alatout 2012) or spatialized technonatures (Jepson and Brannstrom 2016) by STS scholars and political ecologists, who aimed to historicize and scale up water problems. In this sense, coastal eutrophication directly echoes the treadmill of production and metabolic analysis of the commodifi cation of nature (Peluso 2012) and its application to water management (Bakker 2005) and marine ecosystems (Longo et al. 2015). A key result of such works is to show how hydrological fl ow management, water technologies, and power relations are intertwined. ...
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Despite causing harmful impacts on coastal communities and biodiversity for a few decades, eutrophication of marine systems has only recently gained public visibility. Representing a major land-based pollution, eutrophication is now considered the most striking symptom of intractable disruption of biogeochemical nutrient cycles at a global scale. Th e objective of this article is to analyze multi-scale dynamics of the problematization and regulation of ocean overfertilization. To do so, we build n a comprehensive literature review of previously published works that address the sociopolitical dimension of utrophication issues and whose visibility we analyze with a critical perspective. We identify three stages that characterize the social history of marine eutrophication and how it was handled by public authorities. Although social mobilizations focus on emblematic sites, confl icts directly related to eutrophication symptoms spread in diverse hydro-social confi gurations. We conclude with a typology of four confi gurations associated with enduring nutrient pollution: noisy, overwhelming, silenced, and disturbing eutrophication.
... In the same manner, land grabbing has been in the center of discussion over environmental and biodiversity conservation (Vidal 2008;Peluso and Lund 2011;Peluso 2012;Fairhead et al. 2012;Corson and MacDonald 2012;Filer 2012). This is what Vidal (2008) has called the great green grabbing, referring to the appropriation of land and resources for environmental purposes. ...
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This paper seeks to focus on the way in which land transformation related to the grabbing process are directly involved in people’s livelihoods and life projects. We use the term territorial grabbing instead of green grabbing (or just land grabbing), because even though the case that we illustrate in our work can be describe as a green grab, we make a call for the necessity of a comprehensive analysis of the socio-spatial implications that polices such as the governmental environmental conservation agenda can implicate for individuals and communities in terms of impacts, influences, and [re]significations of their territories and territorialities. Therefore, our objective is to go beyond the discussion on the appropriation of land and resources for environmental purposes (and therefore the discussion of land dynamics in relation to globalization, foreign investment, markets liberalization, violence, and control) to bring also into the debate the diverse socio-spatial implications and meanings that create a geographical imagination capable of having profound influences on the way in which people and groups understand their place in the world.
... Contrary to the general understanding of the Amazon as a large, natural forest, the population is highly concentrated in urban areas, including large numbers of Indigenous peoples with complex links to the rural hinterland, a pattern that dates to antiquity. We first examine urbanization as a settlement form of significance in Amazonian antiquity, and the historically-rooted complex linkages between rural livelihoods and urban settlements (Sobreiro 2014;Campbell 2015b;Peluso 2012Peluso , 2017Hecht et al. 2015). Finally, we examine broader settlement and migration patterns. ...
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This chapter reviews the often-invisible, powerful processes that drive social and ecological change in the Amazon, and the diverse peoples who inhabit its landscapes. It explores the large-scale development ide- ologies of modernization, and the policy tools that were deployed to carry them out. Outlining general pe- riods of macro policy shifts, it shows the evolution of the framework for today’s complex interactions be- tween large-scale agroindustry, mining, and hydrocarbons; diverse small-scale livelihoods; the clandes- tine and illicit economies of land grabbing, gold, coca and timber; and their operation in globalized and regional economies. While Pan-Amazonian governments have oscillated between authoritarian and more or less democratic forms of governance since the mid-20th century, more democratic transformations and trade have led to interactions among a wide array of new civil society actors; including non-governmental organizations (NGOs), social movements, rural syndicates, and urban social movements; and powerful actors such as national and international technical, financial, and corporate groups and international con- servation organizations. New international sources of funding expanded well beyond multilateral or tra- ditional bilateral aid; this includes financing from China and hedge funds, and new forms of both informal and corporate production lending. Integration into numerous globalized markets and finance have had enormous effects on Amazonian politics and economies at all scales. These dynamics have generated new kinds of policies, political framings, institutions, and economies, and restructured old ones; reshaped forms of urbanization, settlements, and land regimes; and stimulated extensive and controversial infra- structure development. On the ground, diverse Amazonian peoples have largely suffered the impacts of these processes, and have continued to adapt to changing circumstances while fighting to advance their own proposals for alternative forms of Amazon conservation and development. Keywords: Development policy, globalization, urbanization, settlement, clandestine economy, deforestation, roads, dams, social movements
... Si le contrôle de la circulation de l'eau est une cause majeure de développement des crises dystrophiques (voir par exemple, pour la gestion des estuaires aux Pays-Bas : De Vries et al., 1996), l'artificialisation apparaît également, historiquement et sur la période la plus contemporaine, comme une « solution » aux problèmes de qualité d'eau, ou comme une nécessité pour de nombreux acteurs, dès lors qu'un cadrage par l'assainissement prédomine dans la sphère publique. La marginalisation des espaces littoraux et des milieux aquatiques est ainsi un processus actif par lequel ils se voient assigner le statut d'un accessoire du développement marchand (Peluso, 2012). Dans de tels contextes, contrôler la visibilité sociale de l'eutrophisation côtière et de ses conséquences est un processus volontaire de cadrage dans lequel l'enrichissement en nutriments devient un argument supplémentaire pour dévaloriser les dynamiques de l'écosystème et plaider pour des projets de développement impliquant drainage, VertigO -la revue électronique en sciences de l'environnement, Hors-série 33 | mars 2021 dragage et comblement. ...
... Labour is often mentioned in general terms and alongside other human inputs that contribute to ES co-production (Lele et al. 2013;Spangenberg et al. 2014b;Díaz et al. 2015;Palomo et al. 2016), but few studies in ES research actually detail or highlight the important role of labour in ES delivery (Spangenberg et al. 2014a;Berbés-Blázquez et al. 2016). Peluso (2012) and Berbés-Blázquez et al. (2016) argued that ES can distort the boundaries between ecological and natural inputs and thus hide the role of human labour behind them, a commodification problem that can additionally obscure the importance of nature (Peterson et al. 2010). ...
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The concept of ecosystem services (ES) and related conceptual frameworks like the cascade model, can be relevant to explore the ways through which people and nature are connected and how the benefits of nature, upon which people depend, are realised. An integrated cascade framework was used to study the ES pathway of pine resin, a traded forest product, in a rural mountain community in Mexico. We conducted mixed-methods research, combining participatory tools with measures of service capacity, resin yield, and key farmer endowments. Resin was co-produced by an intricate interaction between the human and natural components of the social-ecological system. Substantial human inputs and coordinated efforts were required to realise resin benefits, and people’s appreciation and plural values emerged along the whole service pathway. Though there were stark differences in natural resource endowments, working farmers gained a high share of resin’s income through labour, labour relations and social networks. But most social conflicts and struggles also occurred over labour relations and organisation, revealing power dynamics. Furthermore, external actors controlled different mechanisms of access, and exerted power over the community’s ability to derive benefits from resin. In resin co-production, values connect people to the landscape, while labour and power mediate the access to nature’s benefits.
... Si le contrôle de la circulation de l'eau est une cause majeure de développement des crises dystrophiques (voir par exemple, pour la gestion des estuaires aux Pays-Bas : De Vries et al., 1996), l'artificialisation apparaît également, historiquement et sur la période la plus contemporaine, comme une « solution » aux problèmes de qualité d'eau, ou comme une nécessité pour de nombreux acteurs, dès lors qu'un cadrage par l'assainissement prédomine dans la sphère publique. La marginalisation des espaces littoraux et des milieux aquatiques est ainsi un processus actif par lequel ils se voient assigner le statut d'un accessoire du développement marchand (Peluso, 2012). Dans de tels contextes, contrôler la visibilité sociale de l'eutrophisation côtière et de ses conséquences est un processus volontaire de cadrage dans lequel l'enrichissement en nutriments devient un argument supplémentaire pour dévaloriser les dynamiques de l'écosystème et plaider pour des projets de développement impliquant drainage, Des océans indigestes : l'émergence de l'eutrophisation côtière comme problèm... ...
Article
Despite harmful impacts on coastal communities and biodiversity for a few decades, eutrophication of marine systems only recently gained public visibility. Representing a major land-based pollution, it is now considered as the most striking symptom of intractable disruption of biogeochemical nutrients cycles at a global scale, due to massive phosphate ore extraction and industrial synthesis of reactive nitrogen. The ambition of this article is to account for the protracted emergence of coastal eutrophication as a public problem. Based on a comprehensive literature review of previously dispersed works in sustainability, social and political sciences, the article analyses multi-scale dynamics of ocean overfertilization. We show that the experience of local people was usually insufficient to trigger stringent public policies, since the lack of effective public action was often presented as the result of local antagonisms and persistent scientific uncertainties, and identify three stages that characterize the social history of marine eutrophication and how it was handled – or not – by public authorities. Although social mobilizations against coastal eutrophication tend to focus on emblematic sites, socio-environmental conflicts directly related to eutrophication symptoms spread in diverse hydro-social configurations. Ultimately, we develop a typology of four configurations associated with enduring land-based nutrient pollution : noisy, overwhelming, silenced and disturbing eutrophication.
... Many sites of extraction are areas of feverish resource-making and (violent) incorporation into global commodity markets, until the 'reserves' in question run out and extractive operations move to new terrains where a new round of exploitation seems profitable. When entering into global circuits of production and trade, extracted products are often subject to fetishism, to add to their exchange value (Peluso 2012;Watts 2011). Resourcemaking also involves a recurrent cartography of existing reserves, resources, fluxes, sinks, and dumps, which territorialise 'natural assets' in space, while linking the sites of extraction to complex modes of enclosure and connectivity (Bridge 2014, 821). ...
... From pits, wells and mines, raw geology is liquidated into energy and money, a double-alchemy at the heart of the modern capitalist economy.' As various commentators have argued, the logic of capitalism tends to 'externalise' environmental damage and does not take it into account as a cost of production (Swyngedouw and Heynen, 2003;Hornborg et al., 2007;Foster et al., 2010;Peluso, 2012;Moore, 2015;Malm, 2016). This is a general problem the world over, but the tendency is further exacerbated by the creation of sprawling commodity networks that spatially detach production from consumption, and consumption from its costs. ...
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Resource extraction has historically caused dramatic environmental changes across the globe. Although mining and oil drilling have transformed landscapes and polluted the air and water wherever they have taken place, knowledge of how these environmental transformations have been experienced and lived in different parts of the world remains fragmentary. This special issue seeks to provide new insights into the environmental histories of resource extraction, particularly in the Global South, where extractive industries have intensified markedly since 1950. Inspired by recent environmental history scholarship, we link together analyses of imperialism, capitalism, and environmental inequality in African, Asian, and Latin American localities of resource extraction. Furthermore, drawing on the analytical framework of political ecology, we examine why protests against extractive industries did or did not occur in specific sites. Given the increasing global demand for resources and pressing current-day questions about how to live in the Anthropocene, it is timely to scrutinise production practices, pollution, and protest in global history.
... It would be impossible to talk about environmental crisis without mentioning capitalism that has allowed the exploitation of nature for the sake of financial profit and material progress. Nature has been exploited and commodified since the early days of capitalism (Peluso, 2012), but it is in the 21 st century we are finally fully aware of how climate crisis is the fatal consequence of our economic and industrial system (McDuff, 2019). ...
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Transcultural perspectives have been effective in decolonizing epistemologies and representational strategies of the humanities and social sciences in their engagements with historical and contemporary dynamics of our globalizing world. As many chapters in this volume demonstrate, transcultural studies have destabilized many of the epistemological binaries and purities that underlie persistent constructions of race, culture, civilization, religion, language and nation (see König, Krämer, Maran and Tontini, all in this volume). This anti-essentialist stance has redirected humanities and social sciences, and, in particular, area and cultural studies, towards the study of encounters between people, ideas and practices, building on the awareness that actual encounters challenge putative purities of identity and belonging. Transcultural perspectives, focusing on encounters, have effectively highlighted the cultural dynamics at the interstices and in-betweens of entities – cultures, nations, religions or languages – that are central to humanistic studies, but have shaky ontological foundations. Transculturality is thus ultimately also a world-making project (see also Juneja, in this volume), it is a quest for adequate knowledge practices for the study of a world that is made up of relations rather than entities and essences. But does the relational perspective of transcultural studies and its study of encounters have to stop at the boundaries of the human? Are transcultural perspectives equipped to study relations made up of humans, technologies, plants, animals and other non-humans? What vocabulary and concepts do anthropological studies have available to talk, in a non-essentialist way, about more-than-human relationality?
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A Planetary Tragedy addresses the question why, some 50 years after ‘the environment’ became a topic of public concern, efforts to address environmental problems have by and large failed and the world appears to be headed for a disastrous future. Although over these years, governments have adopted a raft of national and international measures to combat environmental issues, most of these have proven to be inadequate and the rate of environmental degradation has continued unabated. The book critically surveys and analyses the environmental performance of countries, in particular some that have been regarded as ‘environmental leaders’ and identifies and discusses three broad reasons for this failure. First, the way environmental problems have been predominantly interpreted, which largely ignores the deep and interconnected nature of the environmental challenge; second, the failure to recognise, let alone address, the systemic sources and causes of environmental problems; third, the power structures in the prevailing political-economic systems, which make it virtually impossible to fundamentally change those systems and to put societies onto a path towards sustainability. Covering an extensive literature, the book draws on research, theories, findings, and ideas from the fields of environmental politics and policy, including comparative, international, and global analyses and perspectives, environmental sociology and history, economics and the environment, political and social theory, and environmental management. It puts forward a framework that can assist in taking a comprehensive and integrated approach to the environmental challenge, discusses the strengths and weaknesses of a range of theoretical perspectives, clarifies key concepts and factors central to better understanding the systemic issues and obstacles lying at the heart of the environmental challenge, and puts forward ideas on how to strategically address the enormous imbalance of power that stands in the way of transformative change. The main suggestion is the creation of national-level Sovereign People’s Authorities based on the principle of popular sovereignty that will enable societies to democratically steer themselves towards a sustainable and desirable future. The book is essential reading for students and academics in the areas of environmental politics and policy, including comparative, international and global environmental politics, and all those who wish to gain a deeper understanding of why societies have been unable to address the environmental challenge more effectively. While not offering a basis for facile optimism, it puts the finger on what will be needed to prevent the world from sliding further towards the abyss.
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This article argues that the concepts of "normal" reproductive development that biologists rely on are undergirded by heterosexism, ableism, and White supremacism, even if implicitly. We illustrate our argument by critically analyzing toxicology's use of reproductive fitness, focusing on the field of endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). Toxicology both informs and is informed by fundamental evolutionary and ecological questions as well as environmental health. Throughout, biologists overwhelmingly assume that "abnormal" reproductive physiologies both are generated by EDC exposure and necessarily threaten species survival. Such assumptions unwittingly obscure fundamental scientific insights while further discriminating against queer, trans, nonbinary, and differently abled human communities. We agree that scientists should be sounding the alarm over unavoidable, unevenly distributed, highly hazardous EDC exposures-which cause metabolic dysregulation, cancer, and death-but not because gonads and genitals look different. Instead, we encourage scientists to directly confront how chemical corporations profit from innumerable, irreversible harms to ecological and societal well-being, harms that may very well have nothing to do with gonads or genitals. We close with three specific suggestions to help scientists dismantle the human hierarchies embedded in biological frameworks, toward better science and environmental justice. By refusing the oppressive social ideologies assumed by prior research, toxicological and biological scientists will offer exciting new insights into evolutionary processes and urgent, justice-centered findings for environmental health.
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Capital investment-laden green blue infrastructures (GBI) are being globally celebrated as harbingers of urban resilience to address environmental risks. These technocratic designs exclude historical and micro-political processes shaping urban environments. It is within this context that exposure to social sciences frameworks remains significant. Here, I formulate and deploy historical urban political ecology (HUPE) to explore the mutual relationship between Kolkata and her wetlands, finally demonstrating that cities need to be perceived as complex and adaptive “living systems infrastructure” evolved over time, across an intersecting array of technological apparatuses and social arrangements through constant interactions between human and non-human actors. Beyond linear choreographies of power equations, HUPE conveys the “plural” by exemplifying collaborations, compulsions and contingencies that mediate urban ecologies. I argue that HUPE is an enabling framework, eliciting emancipatory possibilities within political ecology by envisioning the translation of epistemological insights into implementable actions, towards more just and resilient urban ecologies of future.
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Conflicts over resource extraction are key political issues in the contemporary United States and are a mobilizing issue for right-wing populism exemplified by President Donald Trump’s claims of ending the “war on coal.” Through a political ecology framework attentive to culture, discourse, and history, I examine how mining is symbolic of broader cultural, geographic, and class divides. Mining is mobilized in extractive populism through rhetoric of giving power back to the people, insiders versus outsiders, resource nationalism, and cutting burdensome government regulations. I study the emblematic case of the rural Iron Range mining region in northern Minnesota and the recent rightward swing in this historically Democratic stronghold, which I argue is intertwined with the micropolitics of struggles over proposed copper mines. Through ethnographic observations and interviews with local community and political leaders, workers, and residents, I find that support for mining among white, working-class, and rural residents is made meaningful through nostalgia for preserving mining as a way of life and anger at outsiders disrupting their livelihoods and extractive moral economy. These discourses resonated with the populist, nationalist, and racist rhetoric of Trump’s campaign. I argue that place-based and class identities and social imaginaries linked to mining are an important dynamic in emergent authoritarian populism and for understanding what motivates reactionary political movements and why populist politicians use mining to construct authenticity. Key Words: class, discourse, political ecology, populism, resource extraction.
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A rapid expansion in small-scale gold mining properties over the landscape since the late-2000s has generated new social and environmental pressures for both titled and untitled Amerindian communities in Guyana. Some commentators in Guyana claim that these negative impacts are ‘governance problems’ – related to lapses in the monitoring of mining, a poor application and understanding of existing rules and rights, and delays in the Amerindian land titling process. However, using examples from two Amerindian villages in Guyana and employing extensive spatial Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data, this article shows that these problems are rather rooted in deeper institutional and political biases against Amerindian notions of customary land and the ongoing privileging of mineral interests over other tenure types. The article nevertheless argues that resolving tensions between miners and Amerindian communities over land titling is being hamstrung by the perpetuation of binary framings of these claims according to which they are legitimate only when they are grounded in ‘traditional’ motivations. As a way of moving beyond this impasse, the article suggests recognizing the ‘hybridity’ of indigenous livelihoods and the legitimacy of indigenous participation in mining as necessary steps in re-framing debates on indigenous communities and mining.
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The master’s thesis at hand dedicates itself to a socio-ecological conflict perspective on a contested flood protection project in the Upper Austrian Eferding Basin. On basis of empirical data stemming from a master’s thesis in social anthropology, this thesis is to be understood as an extension and complementation of the first. Generally, the thesis is subdivided into a theoretical-conceptual and an empirical-analytical part. The conceptual section tries to examine conflict from three different socio-ecological perspectives, namely political, sociometabolic ecology and environmental history. Subsequently, these approaches are synthesized against the background of their contributions to an inclusive socio-ecological understanding of conflict. I will argue that until now conflict in social ecology has been reduced to a politico-ecological perspective, not sufficiently including the historical roots and biophysical implications of conflict. In the next step, an analytical scheme is developed on basis of extending Dietz’ and Engels’ (2014, 2018) field of conflict approach. Being organized alongside the concepts of colonization and gesellschaftliche Naturverhältnisse, the scheme itself proposes several field of conflict elements applicable for analyzing conflicts in their likewise historical, biophysical and power-related dimensions. The analytical part then takes this scheme and utilizes it for an analysis of selected lines of conflict associated with the flood protection project. In the heart of the analytical inquiry lies a consideration of five embattled field of conflict elements – 1) actors, 2) institutions/relations, 3) structural changes, 4) artifacts, infrastructure and livestock as well as 5) landscape. Beyond that, I focus on the appropriation- and distribution-related as well as on the discursive dimensions of the field of conflict’s embeddedness into larger socionatural processes. Throughout the analysis, I am going to show that the origins and conditions of the field of conflict ‘flood protection’ cannot be understood without reference to the history of the Danube regulation as well as to past and recent land-use-practices. One central insight revolves around the question of whether the Eferding Basin is seen and institutionalized as a retention basin or as an area of human settlement. Besides, the conflicts are characterized by antagonisms between different actors pursuing different goals on basis of diverging land-use practices and contradictory narratives of how the “right” flood protection project should look like.
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In this paper I examine our current post-truth politics and use the concept ‘disingenuous natures’ to describe the intersecting knowledge constructs, management practices and material conditions that enable authoritative knowledge of human-environment interactions to take hold and persist. These conditions are disingenuous because they are both artifactual and generative of social-ecological reifications, knowledge distortions and information deficiencies, yet retain a position of authority and legitimacy in decision-making contexts. I argue that researchers seeking to confront our current post-truth wave lack a clear framework for describing the process through which post-truthism unfolds and disingenuous natures are produced. I describe five interrelated ‘knowledge modalities of concern’ that illuminate key elements of this process. I argue for continued engagement with these knowledge types by critical scholars of the environment because they pose serious challenges for progressive environmental governance.
Article
The changes that have swept rural Myanmar, transforming landscapes and affecting livelihoods, have ignited rural politics and civil society and grassroot organizations' strategies to counter, resist, negotiate and adapt to these changes. Rural politics have centred on broad calls for agrarian and environmental rights and social justice that do not address women's rights, gender and generational justice explicitly. Based on fieldwork carried out in Myanmar's Taninthary region, and engagement with grassroots organizations, I examine how gender and generational power dynamics play out, transform and are transformed in processes of agrarian and environmental change and rural politics. Heterogeneous and unequal encounters can lead to new arrangements of culture and power.-Tsing (2005)
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Die vorliegende Masterarbeit beschäftigt sich aus einer anthropologisch polit-ökologischen Perspektive mit der Umkämpftheit des geplanten Hochwasserschutzprojektes im Eferdinger Becken in Oberösterreich. Letzteres Projekt ist als Reaktion auf das Donau-Hochwasser 2013 auf den Weg gebracht worden, wird aber keineswegs von allen Beteiligten positiv aufgenommen. Das hat damit zu tun, dass das Hochwasserschutzprojekt in einen aktiven und passiven Hochwasserschutz zerfällt und ortsspezifisch mal der eine, mal der andere vorgesehen ist. Bedeutet aktiver Hochwasserschutz beispielsweise die Errichtung von Mauern, zielt ein passiver auf die freiwillige Aussiedlung von hochwassergeschädigten Bewohner*innen ab. Kontroversiell wird es dabei nicht nur im Zusammenhang mit Fragen nach den Gründen für das Hochwasser und nach der Interpretation des Eferdinger Beckens als Landschaft, sondern vor allem in Bezug auf die für etliche Bewohner*innen nicht nachvollziehbare Verteilung der Maßnahmen. Demnach treffen am Beispiel der Verhandlung von Hochwasserschutz divergierende Sinnzusammenhänge aufeinander, die sich an der Frage entzünden, wie Hochwasserschutz als Eingriff in Landschaft auszusehen hat, wen dieser Eingriff vor dem Hintergrund von Machtkonstellationen benachteiligt und wer davon profitiert. Diese materiell-stofflich wie symbolisch-diskursiv vermittelten Sinnzusammenhänge werden in Anlehnung an ein zentrales Konzept der sozialen Ökologie als gesellschaftliche Naturverhältnisse konzeptualisiert und im Rahmen der Arbeit zu fassen versucht. Für das Vorhaben einer polit-ökologischen Darstellung gesellschaftlicher Naturverhältnisse wird zunächst das Verhältnis von Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie und politischer Ökologie aufgearbeitet. Dabei ist es erklärtes Ziel, politische Ökologie in ihrer polit-ökonomischen Tradition mit Ansätzen aus der "neuren" Umweltanthropologie und benachbarten Feldern zusammenzubringen. Darauf folgend werden zentrale Kategorien einer anthropologisch konnotierten politischen Ökologie erläutert. Im Hauptteil der Arbeit wird auf Grundlage der mittels qualitativer Interviews und teilstrukturierter Fragebögen erhobenen Lebensrealitäten der Menschen vor Ort dargestellt, welche Parteien sich in Hinblick auf Hochwasserschutz durchsetzen können und welche Auswirkungen sich dadurch auf das soziale Gefüge ergeben. Dabei wird deutlich, dass Hochwasserschutz entgegen eines für die Planungs- und Expert*innenseite charakteristischen Naturverhältnisses keine bloß technische, ökonomische oder rechtliche Aufgabe darstellt, sondern als soziale, also von Machtverhältnissen durchdrungene und keineswegs von allen mitgetragene Angelegenheit aufzufassen ist.
Article
Urban greening is a buzz term in urban policy and research settings in Australia and elsewhere. In a context of settler colonial urbanism, like Australia, a first fact becomes clear: urban greening is always being practiced on unceded Indigenous lands. Recognising this requires some honest reckoning with how this latest urban policy response perpetuates dispossessory settler-colonial structures. In this paper, we listen to the place-based ontologies of the peoples and lands from where we write to inform understanding the city as an always already Indigenous place – a sovereign Aboriginal City. In so doing, the paper tries to practice a way of creating more truthful and response-able urban knowledge practices. We analyse three distinct areas of scholarly research that are present in the contemporary literature: urban greening and green infrastructure; urban political ecology; and more-than-human cities. When placed in relationship of learning with the sovereign Aboriginal City, our analysis finds that these scholarly domains of urban greening work to re-organise colonial power relations. The paper considers what work the practice and scholarship of ‘urban greening’ might need to do in order to become response-able and learn to learn with Indigenous sovereignties and ontologies.
Chapter
This introduction lays out the context of the “Urbanocene” within which the current book project locates its relevance. Arguing from the conviction that each city has its own narrative, it explains why it is significant to capture urban micro-political processes across long-term temporal scales by unveiling dominant, counter, and suppressed urban environmental narratives. The empirical context of Kolkata’s “blue infrastructures” is described in detail, including the conceptualization of the phrase itself across its technical, historical, and social dimensions, based on findings derived by combining archival and qualitative research methodologies. The historical urban political ecology (HUPE) framework, cross-fertilizing urban environmental history and urban political ecology, is formulated and introduced. The chapter establishes why HUPE can be considered a robust and comprehensive framework and methodological intervention for capturing urban environmental realities across multiple dimensions. The summary of chapters, which elaborate the application of HUPE to Kolkata’s “blue infrastructures,” demonstrates the relevance of the HUPE framework and its potentials to be implemented at scale.
Article
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This is an article about extinction, geography, and the geographies of extinction. The emerging field of extinction studies has brought a vibrant corpus of interdisciplinary scholarship that destabilizes static notions of species, traces the spatiality of death and violence in conservation contexts, and raises important political and ethical questions regarding how lives are lost, saved, and valued. Such work offers a counter to the biopolitical tendencies of contemporary conservation discourse, emphasizing the contingent and situated character of life’s forms and the processes by which these are, often slowly, severed from place. In this article, the authors draw upon research in diverse contexts—concerning the conservation of ospreys on Speyside, Scotland, and trans-border marine conservation in Mozambique—as a lens through which to demonstrate the multiple ways in which extinctions are “placed.” These are (1) an attention to geographical contingency of wildlife under threat from extinction; (2) the multiple, overlapping, and discordant political and economic geographies of violence, death, and attempted (necessarily partial) protections through which extinction unfolds; and (3) the geographies produced as a result of extinction, be they blasted, spectral, or sites for life amid ruins.
Article
This paper examines the political ecology of onions in India, one of the largest producer countries in the world. Although the cost of producing onions is significant, an increasing number of farmers are drawn to its cultivation. Onion prices are, however, highly volatile, fluctuating wildly within the span of a few days, making it a notorious gamble on the market. As a kitchen staple and the second highest consumed vegetable in India, it is also a politically significant crop – high retail rates are held responsible for the fall of governments, and are met with price controls, storage limits, and export restrictions. Yet, in the expectation of spectacular gains, farmers try their luck with its cultivation, investing in inputs, storing and sorting, hoping and waiting for the perfect time to sell. Building on ethnographic fieldwork in the Malwa region of western Madhya Pradesh, I consider how the specific socio-ecological qualities of onion cultivation, harvesting and storage – from high yields to limited storability and the seasonality of cultivation – shape its speculative possibilities. This research finds that it is largely privileged classes and castes of farmers who have access to the ‘means of speculation’ and thereby, to spectacular profits from onion cultivation, leading to the worsening of social inequalities among farmers of this crop. Broadly, this article theorizes the onion as a ‘speculative crop’, one that symbolizes the precarity and possibilities of Indian agriculture in an age of intensive cash-cropping and climate change.
Book
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Berdasarkan analisa dari kajian ini, guna langsung dari wilayah adat terutama adalah dari produksi pangan, yaitu keladi, sagu, padi sawah; protein (yaitu: ulat sagu, babi, ayam), dan cash crop (yaitu cengkeh, kopra, pinang), dan banyak lagi. Ditambah, konsumsi air bersih rumah tangga yang juga menjadi guna langsung dari wilayah adat Saureinu’. Studi ini melakukan valuasi ekonomi berdasarkan pendekatan produktivitas dan harga pasar dari nilai guna langsung, dan mendapati bahwa kegiatan ekonomi masyarakat adat Saureinu di wilayah adatnya mencapai 1,6 juta rupiah sampai 2,2 juta rupiah per kapita per bulan atau rata-rata 1,9 juta rupiah per bulan. Nilai yang lebih tinggi dari Upah Minimum Provinsi Sumatera Barat (UMR) yaitu 1,8 juta rupiah per bulan. Hal tersebut bisa bertambah dengan nilai jasa lingkungan sebesar 844 juta rupiah per tahun dari fungsi hidrologis proxi dari perubahan produktivitas dan nilai stok karbon dari hutan tebangan di Saureinu’. Nilai tersebut sangat kecil, karena kualitas hutan yang sudah terdegradasi, sebagai ilustrasi potensi kayu sekarang hanya 12 persen dari potensi kayu jika status hutan sekunder tinggi. Namun demikian jika wilayah adat tersebut tidak dikonservasi maka kerugian akan semakin besar. Misalnya jika kemungkinan banjir adalah sekali dalam setahun dengan kondisi banjir 1 meter seperti yang dilaporkan. Maka kerugian setahun minimal adalah 10-13% dari pendapatan, yaitu sebanyak kerusakan pangan di wilayah rawa yang akan hancur jika terjadi banjir. Jika ekosistem dapat sehat kembali, maka terdapat potensi nilai ekonomi dari jasa perlindungan yang terberikan dari bencana seperti banjir dan kekeringan, dan kesuburan tanah yang dapat terjadi. Selain itu, keanekaragaman hayati dapat sehat kembali, menjadi potensi input bagi inovasi di masa depan, misalnya sumber obat-obatan dan ilmu pengetahuan. Kualitas lanskap yang baik tentu saja adalah juga potensi pariwisata yang besar, terutama mengingat perairan di Mentawai adalah sorga bagi para peselancar yang mungkin juga ingin melihat lanskap lainnya seperti hutan Saureinu’.
Article
As access to and control of land is increasingly contested, indigenous land management schemes promise to secure formal land rights. This article is concerned with one such scheme, Dayak, Wake Up (Dayak Misik) in Indonesia. The implementation of the scheme, orchestrated by a Dayak farmers’ organization, was rejected by the semi‐nomadic Punan Murung as they did not share the same notions and conceptions of land and resources, which are intertwined with struggles over access and control. Framed with the concept of conflicting ecologies, thereby combining material political ecology with phenomenological and relational approaches, this article elaborates on different conceptions, relations, and terms of engagement with nature by the Punan Murung and representatives of the Dayak farmers’ organization, which are strongly interlinked with power relations. I show that the ecology of ethnically framed territorialization by the organization is hegemonic and subordinates the Punan Murung's alternative place‐based ecology. « Nous sommes réveillés depuis des années » : le choc des écologies autour d'un programme foncier indigène en Indonésie Résumé Dans un contexte de compétition croissante pour l'accès à la terre et son contrôle, les programmes d'aménagement du territoire indigène constituent la promesse de droits fonciers formels. Cet article se penche sur le cas d'un de ces projets : « Dayaks, réveillez‐vous » (Dayak Misik), en Indonésie. Sa mise en œuvre, assurée par une association paysanne dayak, s'est heurtée à l'opposition des Punan Murung, une population semi‐nomade qui n'avait pas la même notion ni la même conception de la terre et des ressources, celles‐ci s'entremêlant à des luttes pour l'accès et le contrôle. Sur la base du concept de choc des écologies, en combinant ainsi écologie politique matérielle et approches phénoménologiques et relationnelles, cet article développe les différentes conceptions, relations et modalités d'intervention vis‐à‐vis de la nature chez les Punan Murung et les représentants de l'association paysanne dayak, qui s'avèrent étroitement liées à des rapports de force. La territorialisation à caractère ethnique que porte l'association constitue une écologie hégémonique qui prend le pas sur celle des Punan Murung, alternative et locale.
Article
This triple case study attempts, from the viewpoint of economic and environmental anthropology, to take into account and to assess pertinent cultural, political, institutional, and economic factors that have an impact on how the açaí value chain develops or restrains according to the given regulatory frameworks. Based on the common-pool resources approach (CPR), the study examines how institutional actors negotiate in a local/global (glocal) dynamic and how from these different scales, they contest and intertwine while pursuing use, access, and management strategies for the açaí production. The article aims to contribute with anthropological insights to the LULC research by underlining the agency of the subjects of land use and tenure policies in Amazonia; to enhance the prominence of local actors and to promote the cultural and economic value of their traditional practices and institutions.
Book
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Borneo and the eastern side of the Malay Peninsula are considered to be 'environmentally critical' areas because of massive deforestation that has taken place since the 1960s. This publication traces the course of their modern transformation, beginning with a description of the natural environment and its dynamics, reviewing the considerable changes that occurred before the modern period, and examining changes since WWII. A wide range of issues are covered, including possible environmental endangerment in relation to timber-related industries, biodiversity, transmigrants and other settlers, and the possible consequences of deforestation for global warming. Conclusions are mixed and indicate that the greatest dangers arise from national policies that continue to treat the region as a 'resource frontier' despite the growing resource scarcity.
Book
This book was originally published by Macmillan in 1936. It was voted the top Academic Book that Shaped Modern Britain by Academic Book Week (UK) in 2017, and in 2011 was placed on Time Magazine's top 100 non-fiction books written in English since 1923. Reissued with a fresh Introduction by the Nobel-prize winner Paul Krugman and a new Afterword by Keynes’ biographer Robert Skidelsky, this important work is made available to a new generation. The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money transformed economics and changed the face of modern macroeconomics. Keynes’ argument is based on the idea that the level of employment is not determined by the price of labour, but by the spending of money. It gave way to an entirely new approach where employment, inflation and the market economy are concerned. Highly provocative at its time of publication, this book and Keynes’ theories continue to remain the subject of much support and praise, criticism and debate. Economists at any stage in their career will enjoy revisiting this treatise and observing the relevance of Keynes’ work in today’s contemporary climate.
Article
Since the mid-1960s, the Indonesian military has played an active role in the exploitation of the nation's forest resources. This role is best understood within the historical context of the military's pervasive and institutionalized involvement in the social, political, and economic affairs of the nation. The military's abuse of power and its direct involvement in the exploitation of the nation's forests were partly the result of the doctrine of dwi-fungsi (dual function) implemented under the regime of President Suharto (1966-98). Forest resources played an important role in the Suharto regime's plans for economic development and the extension of its political control across the nation. The military's involvement included: (1) direct investment in forest industries; (2) facilitation of contracts and concessions through influence peddling and the forceful repression of communities and other interests opposed to logging; and (3) participation in many aspects of the illegal timber economy. The post-Suharto era has been one marked by political upheaval, economic crisis, and efforts to decentralize political power. Since Suharto's fall and during the subsequent-period of reformasi, greater attention has been paid to forest issues and the military's role in logging. However, the military's longstanding involvement in illegal logging and unsustainable forest practices will likely continue if the broader movements to reform civil society are stymied. Conservationists should link their efforts with a range of development and advocacy organizations to support the broader reform movement. If the country's unique and globally significant forest patrimony is to be conserved, the military's substantial role in deforestation must be acknowledged and promptly addressed.
Chapter
On Hybrids and Socionature: Flow, Process, and DialecticsThe Production of Nature: Water and Modernization in SpainModernization as a Geographical Project: The Production of Space/NatureWater as the Linchpin to Spain's Modernization DriveThe State as Master Socioenvironmental EngineerPurification and the Transformation of Nature: Hydraulic Engineers as Producers of SocionatureConclusions
Article
Following an aborted coup attempt in October 1965, the Indonesian military organized what turned out to be one of the most horrifying massacres of the twentieth century. More than half a million people were killed while hundreds of thousands of others were detained for years in prison camps throughout the country. There are two major points that this paper attempts to make. First, that the killings are in fact a case of state violence despite of the efforts to make it look like spontaneous violence. Second, that the killings are crucial to the expansion of capitalism in Indonesia. Using Marx's concept of 'primitive accumulation', it attempts to show that the mass killings and arrests, the expropriation of people from their houses and lands, and the elimination of working-class political formations, are integral parts of an economic strategy of the New Order.
Book
In this article, Sandra Harding introduces the relationship among feminism, science, technology, and theories of knowledge. In the first section, Harding argues that while Western sciences certainly have helped to develop some part of society, they have simultaneously helped to disempower others-such as many people of Third World descent, women and the poor, both here and around the world. A second theme in the book is that feminists must integrate the perspectives of the other liberatory social movements even more deeply into their own projects, and thus also become more capable of making effective alliances with them. In this part, Harding talks about how feminism confronts the sciences. She also talks about women worthies and structural obstacles. She thinks that class and race, poor women and women of color are still a group which has no right to get knowledge or get respect. Harding thinks that 'Thinking from women's lives' means thinking from all women's lives." Harding also discusses traditional and recent theories of knowledge. One kind of new theory argues that everyone should start asking scientific questions from the perspective of women's activities in order to gain a more critical perspective on otherwise unquestioned assumptions, and she examines the postmodernist challenges to such a subject. She also hopes to see changes in science education. It is important to make sure everyone gets a good science Education. She hopes that every body can learn science education that can improve the status of female scientists. [by Yu-Fong and Jayaram, STS 901-Fall 2006]. This is NOT a good abstract of these chapters.
Article
West African landscapes are generally considered as degraded, especially on the forest edge. This unique study shows how wrong that view can be, by revealing how inhabitants have enriched their land when scientists believe they have degraded it. Historical and anthropological methods demonstrate how intelligent African farmers' own land management can be, while scientists and policy makers have misunderstood the African environment. The book provides a new framework for ecological anthropology, and a challenge to old assumptions about the African landscape.
Article
The author of this article argues that the paradox of postcolonial states pursuing internal and external policies remarkably similar to those of their colonial predecessors, despite the passage from colonialism to independence, is best resolved by focusing on the distinct, long-standing, institutional interests of the state-qua-state. It is these interests that make explicable the key policies of Suharto's New Order toward economic development, the Chinese minority, participatory organizations, and internal and external security. The author analyzes the nature and growth of the Dutch colonial state, its decline and near-collapse between 1942 (Japanese invasion) and 1965 (downfall of Sukarno's Guided Democracy), and its revival under ex-colonial sergeant Suharto.