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Threatened forest, threatened culture : a case study of subjectivities, nature and resistance in Embobut Forest

Larsen, Signe LU (2015) In Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science MESM02 20152
LUCSUS (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)
Abstract
Forests are today recognised as vital for ensuring a sustainable world and today’s initiatives to save them address everything from actual resource use to fictitious agendas such as carbon sequestration. Forests have become embedded in a “fog of greening”, and in this process local forest become global spaces for saving the world. The fog of greening is dislocated from the ground but has both material and discursive consequences, when it interacts with the local level. Conflicts over forests are therefore often a result of global agendas interacting with local realities. Global programmes for forest use, for example conservation, have often been criticised for changing local peoples’ access to forests, sometimes even by physical... (More)
Forests are today recognised as vital for ensuring a sustainable world and today’s initiatives to save them address everything from actual resource use to fictitious agendas such as carbon sequestration. Forests have become embedded in a “fog of greening”, and in this process local forest become global spaces for saving the world. The fog of greening is dislocated from the ground but has both material and discursive consequences, when it interacts with the local level. Conflicts over forests are therefore often a result of global agendas interacting with local realities. Global programmes for forest use, for example conservation, have often been criticised for changing local peoples’ access to forests, sometimes even by physical displacement. This is closely related to the conceptualisation of nature as being void of humans to ensure biodiversity of the forest. This research uses the case of Embobut Forest in Kenya as an example of a local response in a conflict over natural resources, by looking at processes that construct identity and hereby form opposition. The analysis is based on feminist work on subjectivities and focuses on intersections between socio-political relations, cultural practices and environmental processes, and how they are (re)neogitated and embodied by the local community, when it mobilises its indigenous claim to the forest. The study uses interviews, observations and a photography exercise to elicit how the local community’s response functions in the locals’ everyday life. It shows that the (re)negotiation of their subjectivities involves discursive as well as material changes in their relation to the forest, and that these restructurings draw on existing practices, as well as networks across scales. The focus on the intersections of above elements in the subject formation shows that the conflict is about cultural survival and not just territory. The risk of cultural extinction is thus higher than the risk entailed in their indigenous identity. This raises questions to the future of the fog of greening: in saving nature, it is important to ask whose nature we protect and open up for an acknowledgment of alternative human-nature relations. (Less)
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author
Larsen, Signe LU
supervisor
organization
course
MESM02 20152
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
conflict, sustainability science, local resistance, Kenya, indigenous, post-structural feminism
publication/series
Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science
report number
2015:036
funder
Margit Stiernswärds fond för miljövårdsforskning, Lund University
language
English
id
8234294
date added to LUP
2015-12-01 10:51:28
date last changed
2015-12-01 10:51:28
@misc{8234294,
  abstract     = {Forests are today recognised as vital for ensuring a sustainable world and today’s initiatives to save them address everything from actual resource use to fictitious agendas such as carbon sequestration. Forests have become embedded in a “fog of greening”, and in this process local forest become global spaces for saving the world. The fog of greening is dislocated from the ground but has both material and discursive consequences, when it interacts with the local level. Conflicts over forests are therefore often a result of global agendas interacting with local realities. Global programmes for forest use, for example conservation, have often been criticised for changing local peoples’ access to forests, sometimes even by physical displacement. This is closely related to the conceptualisation of nature as being void of humans to ensure biodiversity of the forest. This research uses the case of Embobut Forest in Kenya as an example of a local response in a conflict over natural resources, by looking at processes that construct identity and hereby form opposition. The analysis is based on feminist work on subjectivities and focuses on intersections between socio-political relations, cultural practices and environmental processes, and how they are (re)neogitated and embodied by the local community, when it mobilises its indigenous claim to the forest. The study uses interviews, observations and a photography exercise to elicit how the local community’s response functions in the locals’ everyday life. It shows that the (re)negotiation of their subjectivities involves discursive as well as material changes in their relation to the forest, and that these restructurings draw on existing practices, as well as networks across scales. The focus on the intersections of above elements in the subject formation shows that the conflict is about cultural survival and not just territory. The risk of cultural extinction is thus higher than the risk entailed in their indigenous identity. This raises questions to the future of the fog of greening: in saving nature, it is important to ask whose nature we protect and open up for an acknowledgment of alternative human-nature relations.},
  author       = {Larsen, Signe},
  keyword      = {conflict,sustainability science,local resistance,Kenya,indigenous,post-structural feminism},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science},
  title        = {Threatened forest, threatened culture : a case study of subjectivities, nature and resistance in Embobut Forest},
  year         = {2015},
}