Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 3

environmentalism Related Abstracts

3 Disaggregating Communities and the Making of Factional States: Evidence from Joint Forest Management in Sundarban, India

Authors: Amrita Sen


In the face of a growing insurgent movement and the perceived failure of the state and the market towards sustainable resource management, a range of decentralized forest management policies was formulated in the last two decades, which recognized the need for community representations within the statutory methods of forest management. The recognition conceded on the virtues of ecological sustainability and traditional environmental knowledge, which were considered to be the principal repositories of the forest dependent communities. The present study, in the light of empirical insights, reflects on the contemporary disjunctions between the preconceived communitarian ethic in environmentalism and the lived reality of forest based life-worlds. Many of the popular as well as dominant ideologies, which have historically shaped the conceptual and theoretical understanding of sociology, needs further perusal in the context of the emerging contours of empirical knowledge, which lends opportunities for substantive reworking and analysis. The image of the community appears to be one of those concepts, an identity which has for long defined perspectives and processes associated with people living together harmoniously in small physical spaces. Through an ethnographic account of the implementation of Joint Forest Management (JFM) in a forest fringe village in Sundarban, the study explores the ways in which the idea of ‘community’ gets transformed through the process of state-making, rendering the necessity of its departure from the standard, conventional definition of homogeneity and internal equity. The study necessitates an attention towards the anthropology of micro-politics, disaggregating an essentially constructivist anthropology of ‘collective identities’, which can render the visibility of political mobilizations plausible within the seemingly culturalist production of communities. The two critical questions that the paper seeks to ask in this context are: how the ‘local’ is constituted within community based conservation practices? Within the efforts of collaborative forest management, how accurately does the depiction of ‘indigenous environmental knowledge’, subscribe to its role of sustainable conservation practices? Reflecting on the execution of JFM in Sundarban, the study critically explores the ways in which the state ceases to be ‘trans-national’ and interacts with the rural life-worlds through its local factions. Simultaneously, the study attempts to articulate the scope of constructing a competing representation of community, shaped by increasing political negotiations and bureaucratic alignments which strains against the usual preoccupations with tradition primordiality and non material culture as well as the amorous construction of indigeneity.

Keywords: Community, Indigenous, identities, environmentalism, JFM, state-making

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2 Ecological Concerns in Food Systems: An Ethnographical Approach on Vegan Impact in Governmentality

Authors: Jessica Gonzalez


Veganism, along with different types of vegetarianism, consists in the abstinence of animal products. Far from being only an alimentary regulation, it stands as a political posture against the food industry generating itself a set of beliefs, prohibitions, and attitudes that compel the individual to a reevaluation of his obligations towards the environment. Veganism defends animal rights and at the same time reinforces a different conception of natural resources embodying it in alimentary restrictions. These practices emerge in the context of alimentary modernity, which is characterized by bringing new concerns to the consumer. An increased skepticism towards the government ability to protect food supply; a notable distrust toward the market guaranties on providing safe food with sustainable techniques and the desire to react to the neoliberal forms of exploitation are some of its consequences of this phenomenon. This study aims to approach the concept of governmentality as a coproduced system of legitimized practices and knowledge, formed by the interaction of the different actors that are involved. In a scenario where the State seems to retreat from centralized regulation of food production giving up importance to citizens, dietary consultants, farmers, and stockbreeders, veganism plays its role on the conformation of distinctive forms of environmentalism, nature rights and responses to ecological crisis. The ethnographic method allows observing the mechanisms of interaction of consumers and discourses with the mainstream food system, providing evidence about the means of generation of new conceptions about nature and the environment. The paper focuses on how the dietary restrictions, consumption patterns and public discourses of vegans in Barcelona impact local consumption, demonstrating its relevance as a mechanism that associates particular concerns about food with political economy.

Keywords: environmentalism, animal rights, Governmentality, Veganism, food system

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1 Insults, Injuries, and Resistance: Challenging Environmental Classism and Embracing Working-Class Environmentalism

Authors: Karen Bell


It is vital to integrate a working-class perspective into the just transition to an inclusive and sustainable society because of the particular expertise and interests that working-class people bring to the debates and actions. In class societies, those who are not well represented in the current structures of power can find it easier to see when the system is not working. They are also more likely to be impacted by the environmental crises because wealthier people can change their dwelling places, jobs and other aspects of their lives in the face of risks. Therefore, challenging the ‘post-material values thesis’, this paper argues that, if enabled to do so, working-class people are more likely to identify what needs to be addressed and changed in transition and can be more motivated to make the changes necessary than other social groups. However, they are often excluded from environmental decision-making and environmental social movements. The paper is based on a mixed methodology; drawing on secondary data, interview material, participant observation and documentary analysis. It is based on years of research and activism on environmental issues in working-class communities. The analysis and conclusion discusses the seven kinds of change required to address this problem: 1) organizational change - participatory practice (2) legislative change - make class an equalities and human rights issue (3) policy change - reduce inequality (4) social movement change - radicalize the environmental movement and support the environmental working-class (5) political change - create an eco-social state based on sharing (6) cultural change - integrate social and environmental justice, and (7) revolutionary change - dismantle capitalism.

Keywords: Sustainability, environmentalism, Working Class, just transition

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