- If you are a food organisation (whether community-led, social enterprise, business, charity, etc.), explore research that could benefit your work, identify opportunities for future collaborations, and work with researchers to drive positive social change.
- If you are a researcher, explore how to improve your research impact, network and develop partnerships with practitioner organisations, and design research that has a social purpose and can deliver real change.
The Essex Sustainability Institute’s Seminar Series,Sustainability Contested, continues in 2013 at the Wivenhoe Park campus. The seminars are open to staff, students and members of the public. All are welcome, please spread the word!
Attendance is free, but prior registration is required. Please register by clicking here.
Solar panel project for the Lower Kolyma region of the Republic of Sakha-Yakutia, Russia; a four year collaboration.
Chris Madine, Arklerton Trust
19th February 2013, Room Room TC.1.10, from 12:30 – 14:00
Abstract: This presentation will describe the events which have unfolded in the attempt to train two candidates from Siberian communities to become solar engineers. The training is devised and conducted by the Barefoot College, an organization based in India which is primarily involved in rural development. The training process lasts a period of six months and is designed to result in a candidate becoming fully proficient in the construction and maintenance of their community’s own solar powered light project. The aim of this venture was to take solar light technology to the nomadic reindeer herders of the Chukchi Nation (Turvaurgin and Nutendli communities) located in the Lower Kolyma region of the Republic of Sakha-Yakutia, Russia.
Biography: Chris is currently working as a Consultant Ecologist in the North East of England. He also works closely with the Arkleton Trust. The Trust is a research group, which, founded in 1977, has the aim of ‘studying new approaches to rural development and education’ and ‘improving understanding between rural policy makers, academics, practitioners and rural people’.
The Essex Sustainability Institute’s Seminar Series,Sustainability Contested, continues in 2013 at the Wivenhoe Park campus. The seminars are open to staff, students and members of the public. All are welcome, and attendance is free! Please spread the word!
Our next seminar is on the 23rd of January 2013, at 16:00 in Room 5N.7.23. Please note that the event will be free but prior registration is required. To register, please click here.
Separating Indigenous Peoples From Their Lands: The Ethnocidal Effects of Recent Canadian Land Claims Agreements
This presentation examines Canadian land claims policy and interprets it as a means to diminish the cultural distinctiveness and social cohesion of Aboriginal peoples by requiring that they release most of their land to Canada and participate in resource extraction joint ventures. The recent Innu Nation land claims agreement called Tshash Petapen (‘New Dawn’) will be analyzed in terms of (1) the social and political conditions in which the Innu negotiate, especially high rates of social dysfunction, alcoholism, and substance abuse (2) the provisos in agreements aimed at cultivating acquisitive individualism within a neoliberal economic framework, (3) the effects on Aboriginal social cohesion and relationships to the land, and (4) the legal result of such agreements, which is to extinguish indigenous ownership of lands and abolish any claims Aboriginal peoples can make against Canada for the violation of their rights.
Professor Colin Samson is a member of International Fact Finding Mission on land rights of Innu of Matimekush, Quebec, a delegate to the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations for the Innu Council of Nitassinan, Geneva, 19-23 July 2004 and a founding member of the Assembly of Indigenous Peoples, an organization seeking to link hunting and pastoralist peoples, Arusha, Tanzania. He is also the author of A Way of Life That Does Not Exist: Canada and the Extinguishment of the Innu.
If you would like to meet the speaker on the day, please email Bryony Pound, at balpou (at) essex.ac.uk.
Call for papers: New Perspectives on International Development: The Role of the Extractive Industries
The term ‘extractivism’ refers to the extraction of minerals, oil and gas that are destined for international markets. It is part and parcel of the hegemony of development (Giarraca, 2007; Böhm and Brei, 2008), often leading to relations of dependency between providers and users of resources (Misoczky, 2011).
In Latin America, Africa and Asia extractivism has been in place since colonial times, as capitalism has always been dependent on extractive economic activities (Galeano, 1997). Whether in the silver mines of Potosi, the gold mines of South Africa or the vast coal mines in Australia, colonial modes of extraction ensured that the colonies provided raw materials, cheap energy and food to the colonizers enabling the latter to accumulate capital and fuel their development. Colonialism was a structural instrument for the uneven appropriation and consumption of the world’s resources. Colonial modes of extraction had immense social, economic and environmental impacts. For example, Indigenous peoples and other colonized subjects were used as slave labour that generated much of the wealth in Europe but resulted in death and dispossession of the people that produced the wealth. Extractivism also had devastating environmental impacts, destroying livelihoods and poisoning the land, lakes and rivers that were the source of sustenance for Indigenous peoples (Gedicks, 1993; Banerjee, 2000).
The end of direct colonialism and the emergence of new nation states that were former colonies marked a significant shift in post-colonial relations. The extractive model of development has generally remained intact, even intensified, as former colonies found themselves locked into the development discourse of global neo-liberal capitalism (Banerjee, 2011; Misoczky, 2011). ‘Emerging economies’, such as China, India and Brazil, require seemingly endless supplies of raw materials to ‘develop’. Hence, the majority of Latin American countries, for example, have been specializing in raw commodities exports, as shown by the increase in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in natural resources, which reached 43% in 2010 (ECLAC, 2011). Extractivism has recently been reconfigured into what can be called ‘neo-extractivism’, referring to policies that strengthen the role of the State in the exploitation and ownership of resources (Gudynas, 2010), a development that has gained momentum in large parts of the ‘developing world’.
The renewed emphasis on extractivism is not only a phenomenon of the South, however, but is a global phenomenon. In Canada, for example, many communities are opposing the privileged access mining and oil companies have to the land and questioning the assumption that extractivism is the best and most profitable use of land and guarantee for development (see www.miningwatch.ca). In many parts of Europe mining and new forms of oil and gas drilling are expanding at an unprecedented scale and pace (FoE, 2012).
Regardless of location, extractivism is generally controlled by large transnational corporations. The state is also a key player in the political economy of extractivism by creating the conditions that enable corporations to accumulate wealth. As a consequence, economic enclosures are implemented within sovereign states, as spaces for the provision of natural resources needed for the endless process of capital accumulation. Resource rich but cash poor and indebted states have been ‘structurally adjusted’ by supranational institutions like the World Bank and IMF as well as regional development banks to open up pristine forests for resource extraction. Transnational capital in the form of multinational corporations and national governments organizes the ‘legitimate’ violence of the state to forcibly relocate Indigenous and rural communities in order to extract surplus from their land (Banerjee, 2011). Extractivism is a form of internal colonialism managed by elites of the former colonies operating under the structural power of supranational institutions like the World Trade Organization, World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Consequences for communities facing the brunt of development have been devastating whereby extractive industries have inevitably led to social dislocation, environmental destruction and loss of livelihoods (Bebbington et al., 2008; Böhm and Brei, 2008).
However, extractivism has not gone unchallenged. Anti-mining protests across the developing and developed world are on the rise (www.miningwatch.ca). These resistance movements involve a diversity of actors including community groups, local activists, domestic and international non-governmental organizations (Spicer and Böhm, 2007). Corporations that are the targets for these protest movements are by no means passive actors and use a variety of strategies to counter resistance. Ironically, corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become the weapon of choice where corporations highlight their ‘sustainability’ and ‘citizenship’ credentials to obscure their role in extractivism (Mutti et al, 2011; Kapelus, 2002).
We call for papers that critically engage with the history and contemporary faces of the extractive model of capitalist development, exploring the following possible themes (amongst others):
- Mapping the (history and contemporary face of) extractive industries and (neo)colonial development in South and North;
- CSR strategies of extractive industries
- Governance arrangements used by the extractive industries and other mega-development projects
- The organization of resistance to the extractive industries and mega-development projects by social movements, NGOs and other civil society groups;
- The role of FDI contracts and international law;
- The relationship between the extractive industries and other mega-development projects;
- The role of global financial institutions and development agencies as well as the role of the cooperation with NGOs and governments supporting the expansion of mega-development projects;
- Global commodities chains: extraction, production and consumption in the international division of labour;
- Articulations of alternatives to the models of extractivism and mega-development
To respond to this call:
Please send abstracts, of a maximum of 500 words, on A4 paper, single spaced, 12 point font to Steffen Boehm: firstname.lastname@example.org by 31st January 2013.
Your abstract should include:
- The focus, aims and objectives of the paper
- The research evidence base underpinning the paper
- How the paper will contribute to the theme
Notification of paper acceptance: 22nd February 2013
Full papers will be expected by 1st May 2013
We look forward to hearing from you, and any questions in the meantime should be addressed to Steffen Boehm
The Essex Sustainability Institute’s Seminar Series, Sustainability Contested, continues in 2013 at the Wivenhoe Park campus. The seminars are open to staff, students and members of the public. All are welcome, and attendance is free! Please spread the word!
Our next seminar is on the 15th of January 2013, at 12:30pm in Room TC 1.10.
Please note that the event will be free but prior registration is required. To register, please click here.
Stakeholder Participation: Keys to success
Diana Pound, Dialogue Matters ltd.
Stakeholder dialogue is regarded as a best practice approach to stakeholder participation. It can be applied in any situation where people with different interests and knowledge need to work together to find a way forward. This includes achieving research impact via participatory knowledge exchange, involving stakeholders in the management of the environment and using participation as a tool for team decision making. It has an emphasis on process design and uses facilitation methods that help people shift from positional behavior to cooperative and creative negotiation. Practitioners are guided by key concepts, design principles and ethics. This presentation will: explain some of these concepts, describe keys to success, and refer to cases that show this approach works.
Diana Pound founded Dialogue Matters in 2000 to transform the way people work together around the management and use of the natural environment. She champions good practice, speaking at national and international conferences and has designed over 70 stakeholder dialogue/consensus building processes, facilitated more than 100 workshops and trained over 900 people in good practice. Her work includes helping communities solve local challenges, stakeholders agree plans, researchers share knowledge, and international organisations including UN Conventions, develop guidance or policies. Diana recently developed a course to help researchers achieve research impact with end users through knowledge exchange. She has also been an IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) Commissioner since 2004.
If you would like to meet the speaker on the day, please email Bryony Pound, at balpou (at) essex.ac.uk.
FOOD IN TRANSITION: TOWARDS A RESEARCH AND POLICY AGENDA
A collaborative workshop of the Transition Research Network, Essex Sustainability Institute, Participatory and Rural Geographies Research Groups.
University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester CO4 3SQ, Essex
Wed 6th Feb 2013, 12 noon – 6pm (followed by dinner)
- Working or seeking to work, on local food initiatives where you live?
- A grower or producer who supplies, or would like to supply locally, and support the work of community food initiatives?
- Involved in academic research on local food systems, and seeking to maximise its practical value by collaborating directly with community groups, growers and producers?
If so, please join us and help develop a new agenda for local food practice, research and policy. We will use inclusive facilitation techniques to ensure the meeting is dynamic and makes the most of what all participants have to offer. The event is open to everyone interested in contributing to this theme. Attendance is free but by registration only. Travel and accommodation support is are available and will be allocated based on income and a simple email application.
Please spread the word, and feel free to circulate the attached flier.
For registration and bursary applications: Send an email to Prof. Steffen Boehm (steffen at essex.ac.uk) by 21st December 2012 with:
- Your name and location
- The name of the initiative you wish to represent (where relevant)
- A few lines to tell us about your key relevant experience and why you wish to attend
- An indication of whether you would like to apply for a travel bursary to enable you to attend.
We will then get back to you with a link to our registration page. The deadline for registration is 14th January 2012.
The Transition Research Network is a self-organising group of academics and community activists. See: www.transitionresearchnetwork.org
The Essex Sustainability Institute is hosting a new seminar series, Sustainability Contested, at the Wivenhoe Park campus. The seminars are open to staff, students and members of the public. All are welcome, and attendance is free! Please spread the word! If you would like to meet the speakers on the day, please email Bryony Pound, at balpou (at) essex.ac.uk. The final seminar for the Autumn term is on the 4th of December, 12:30 – 2pm, Room 5N.3.2.
Abstract: The presentation will discuss the failures of water services and the growing scarcity of water in Lima, the capital of Peru. Institutional reforms and large-scale investments in the water sector in the city have been strongly influenced in recent decades by wider economic adjustments and the reconfiguration of the national state. The modernization of the water sector is described as a multifaceted, highly idiosyncratic phenomenon that depends on three interrelated processes: techno-environmental improvements, the marketization of water management and the search for political legitimacy. A condition of water scarcity goes beyond the physical insufficiency of resources, but vividly contains the inadequacy of social institutions responsible for the allocation and use of water. Scarcity is never a single phenomenon but develops into unavoidably associations with other manifestations of shortage and deprivation. The multiple features of scarcity are not only interconnected, but are interdependent and mutually reinforcing.
Water reforms represent a privileged entry point into the kaleidoscopic interlinkages that constitute the socio-politics of the city. Based on three case study areas in Lima (Pachacútec, Huaycán and Villa El Salvador), the interconnection between investments, selective abundances and persistent scarcities will be examined. The presentation will examine why the inversion of money and technology in the water sector in the last two decades has failed to offer a solution to the metabolism of scarcity. Although the modernisation of water services has been based on fleeting investments and on the business-like management of the public utility and of alternative water systems (e.g. micro-credit schemes), the responses to water problems remain centred on the appropriation of scarcity as a key productive force. In the end, the material and symbolic production of scarcity in the Latin American metropolis continues to be predicated upon practices of spatial exclusion and social discrimination.
Overall, the complexity of the institutional reforms in Lima suggests that the metropolitan water sector has travelled a long journey since the introduction of a new regulatory apparatus and calls for environmental governance promoted by multilateral agencies in the 1990s. Successive programmes have included a discourse of public participation, environmental sustainability and even social justice, but also incorporated incentives for the circulation of capital and the maximisation of private profits. In that sense, the case study of Lima intensely encapsulates the growing sophistication of water reform strategies, but also represents a relevant illustration of the intricate urban policies adopted in recent years. Substantial sums of money have been invested in infrastructure and management – which has attracted more international operators than the company can actually handle – while less attention has been dedicated to creating specific solutions to the concrete reality of water problems in different parts of Lima. The insufficiencies and contradictions of the water governance initiatives are becoming increasingly more evident and the allocation and use of water in Lima remain highly contested. Genuine alternatives will require further efforts in terms of public engagement and shared decision-making, as well as reforms in urban policies and the promotion of a more equitable basis of national development.
Antonio Ioris is Lecturer in Environment and Society at the School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh. His main academic interests are related to the political ecology of water policy-making and urban water management, with an emphasis on multiscale conflicts over the allocation and use of natural resources. Recent publications cover empirical work done in Portugal, Brazil, Peru, and Great Britain on the implementation of water institutional reforms, the politico-institutional dimension of climate change, and the influence of economic development demands in the expansion of water services. Recent and ongoing research projects include the reform of the water industry in Lima (Peru), the search for environmental justice in the Glasgow area, climate change and institutional weaknesses in the Paraguay River Basin (South America), integration of water management and agriculture systems, the adoption of digital technologies for the communication of hydrological data and the interface between ecosystem services and poverty alleviation in Brazilian and Bolivian sections of the Amazon River Basin. He is the editor of the book “Tropical Wetland Management”, published in 2102 by Ashgate.
Rafael Kruter Flores is a PhD Student in Administration at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil. He is currently based at the University of Essex for a three month period, working under the supervision of Professor Steffen Böhm. His PhD thesis focuses on contemporary theoretical approaches and the contributions of Marxism to understanding the political economy of water. He is a member of the Organization and Liberation Praxis research group, based at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, and has published the group’s first book, which has the same name. His research interests are water property and social struggles; mining and corporate practices in Latin America; political economies of management and organization; organization of resistance and social movements.
The Essex Sustainability Institute is hosting a new seminar series, Sustainability Contested, at the Wivenhoe Park campus. The seminars are open to staff, students and members of the public. All are welcome, and attendance is free! Please spread the word! If you would like to meet the speaker on the day, please email Bryony Pound, at balpou (at) essex.ac.uk.
Our next scheduled seminar is on the 29th of November, at 12:30pm in Room TC 2.10.
The Lies of the Land? Foxhunting, Landscape Policy and the Cultural Appropriation of Space.
Abstract: In 2007 the UK Government adopted the European Landscape Convention (ELC). In doing so it became bound to recognise the significance of spaces as more than physical regions; they were also to be regarded as dynamic, living landscapes, characterised by distinctive and diverse identities. However, my analysis of foxhunting culture and spatial identity indicated that local landscape assessments, designed to implement the ELC, removed foxhunting from the English countryside. This is despite the fact that foxhunting has a distinctive, long-standing and fecund physical and social presence in the land.
In practice, policies, which are designed to implement the aims of the ELC and purport to embrace its ethos, actually have a tendency to frame space selectively. They contribute to an appropriation of the landscape and represent a form of bureaucratic colonialism. The ELC claims to incorporate inclusiveness, bottom up involvement and local empowerment. However, in practice, selective representations of the environment wrest power from places and from those who create and give meaning to them. This paper warns that this precedent represents a danger for our cultural and physical environment.
 The ELC was signed and ratified by the UK Government in 2006 and became binding in 2007.
We’re excited to be able to share the final seminar programme for the Essex Sustainability Institute seminars scheduled for Autumn 2012. The seminars are free to attend, and are open to staff and students at the University of Essex as well as members of the public from outside the University. Just turn up! If you would like to meet with the speakers, please contact Zareen Bharucha at zpbhar at essex.ac.uk. Attached to this post is a flier you can download and print if you would like! A guide to campus room numbering can be found here.
26th October 2012 / 12:30 – 14:00 / Room 5S.4.11: Sarah White, University of Bath: Wellbeing and Poverty in Marginalised Communities: Zambia and India Compared.
6th November 2012 / 12:30 – 14:00 / Room 5N.3.2: Idlan Zakaria, University of Essex: Corporate Environmental Reporting: What We Know, What We Don’t Know and What We Want to Know
13th November2012 / 12:30 – 14:00 / Room 5N.3.2: John Burton, World Land Trust: The World Land Trust: International conservation and the human element.
19th November 2012 / 13:30 – 17:00 / Room 5N.3.2: Joint seminar with the Essex Business School: Corporate approaches to sustainability and responsibility: Cases, Challenges, Contradictions
29th November 2012 / 12:30 – 14:00 / Room TC2.10: Alison Acton, (alum, University of Essex): The Lies of the Land? Foxhunting, Landscape Policy and the Cultural Appropriation of Space
4th December 2012 / 12:30 – 14:00 / Room 5N.3.2: Antonio Ioris (University of Edinburgh) with Rafael Kruter Flores (Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul): Neoliberalism, Socionature and WaMain Programme – Autumn 2012ter Problems: The Multiple Scarcities of Lima, Peru
The Essex Sustainability Institute is hosting a new seminar series, Sustainability Contested, at the Wivenhoe Park campus. The seminars are open to staff, students and members of the public. The next seminar in the series will be held on the 26th of October 2012, in room 5S.4.11, 12:30 – 14:00 (bring your lunch). All are welcome, and attendance is free! Please spread the word! If you would like to meet the speakers on the day, please email Zareen Bharucha, at zpbhar (at) essex.ac.uk. More on the first seminar below.
Title: Wellbeing and Poverty in Marginalised Communities: Zambia and India compared
Abstract: This paper presents initial findings from ongoing interdisciplinary research into subjective and objective dimensions of wellbeing in two marginalised communities, one in India and one in Zambia. It begins by introducing the research and the model of wellbeing it has developed. It then describes the locations and some basic similarities and differences between them. Initial results are then presented. These give pause for thought to anyone who maintains that wellbeing is a purely individual or psychological matter. Preliminary though the findings are, they clearly point to the fact that economics and politics are critical to people’s ability to achieve wellbeing. This is shown both in the salience of structural differences such as wealth and gender/marital status in predicting levels of inner wellbeing, and in the importance of the ‘enabling environment’: policy and polity, security and insecurity.
Sarah White is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Social and Policy Sciences, University of Bath and Director of Wellbeing and Poverty Pathways, funded by ESRC/DFID, 2010-2013 (www.wellbeingpathways.org). She is a sociologist of international development, who has worked previously on gender, race, child rights and religion, mainly in the context of Bangladesh.