Political Ecologies of Conflict, Capitalism and Contestation

International Conference: Political Ecologies of Conflict, Capitalism and Contestation (PE-3C)

When: 7-9 July 2016
Where: Hotel Wageningse Berg, Wageningen, The Netherlands
Organised by: Wageningen University and School of Oriental and African Studies SOAS), University of London

We seem to have entered a new phase in the relation between violence and environment. This includes not just unprecedented surges of wildlife crime and associated military style retaliation, but also the conflicts and contestations that arise from structural unequal access to resources (ironically often exacerbated by environmental policies), and the epistemic and intellectual domination of specific ways of understanding, representing and enacting natures, animals and environments. These forms of conflict and violence are (again) becoming an ever more central aspect of the political ecologies of late capitalism and warrant renewed attention, conceptualization and critique.

This international conference aims to bring together scholars, activists, non-governmental and governmental change-makers and interested individuals to discuss and increase our understanding of the causes, consequences, natures and politics of these dynamics and so inspire and understand contested 21st century political ecologies.

A second objective of the conference is to contribute to a broader understanding of the meaning and nature of political ecology in the 21st century. Political ecology, as the study of how different interests, forms of power and politics influence and frame access to, use and understand the environment, has become a mature field of academic and activist inquiry. One of the untapped strengths of this field is that those who call themselves political ecologists work within a wide variety of different disciplines, traditions and academic cultures. The aim of this conference is to bring these different disciplines, traditions and cultures together and so connect important discussions on the political ecologies of conflict, capitalism and contestation.

Paper and Panel themes: proposals for papers and panels are invited that address a combination of the following themes and issues:

  • Resources and land use practices including but not limited to: biodiversity and conservation, agriculture, agroecology, forests, water management, marine resources, etc;
  • Drivers of violence and conflict such as inequality, resource access, capitalism, markets, governmental policies, ecotourism, militarization, climate change, science and technology, war and crisis, conservation and development programs;
  • Forms and conceptions of violence including but not limited to structural and material forms of violence, symbolic and epistemic violence as well as practices of contestation, resistance and the development of alternatives;
  • Conceptual, theoretical and methodological approaches to political ecology and beyond: (post-)structuralist, (post-)Marxist, governance studies, ANT, discourse analysis, governmentality, biopolitics, cultural studies, posthumanist, ethnographic, etc.

We invite paper and full panel proposals (with a maximum of 4 paper presentations for 1 panel) for this conference; please send these to politicalecology2016@gmail.com<mailto:politicalecology2016@gmail.com> before 15 December 2015.

Abstracts of the papers as well as abstracts describing a full panel should not exceed 300 words.

Call for Paper Abstracts – Sustainable and Just Rural Transitions: Connections and Complexities

XIV World Congress of Rural Sociology
August 10-14, 2016,  Toronto, Canada
Call for Paper Abstracts: Open May 19 – November 1, 2015
Sustainable and Just Rural Transitions: Connections and Complexities
Global environmental changes, shifting resource scarcities, deepening social inequalities, both innovation and crisis in urban centers, and new patterns of voluntary and involuntary migrations are among the conditions and dynamics now shaping the futures of rural places and people. Intensifying and intertwining forces of commodification, industrialization,  neoliberalization and globalization over the last several decades have produced uneven and arguably illusory gains, given evidence of the increasingly precarious position of labour and livelihoods throughout the rural world and the widespread distribution of environmental harm and ecological degradation. Within these general patterns and trends, circumstances can vary greatly across rural contexts within and between continents.
Rigorous analysis of the interconnected challenges now experienced by rural people and places, as well as comprehensive assessment of the proposed solutions and diverse experiments now underway will increase our understanding of the pathways which may be open, blocked or yet to be created for movement towards more sustainable and just rural futures. Sociologists and other social scientists addressing rural concerns play indispensable roles in identifying, analyzing and assessing the forms and consequences – both intended and unintended – of the diverse transition aspirations and experiences of rural people and places.
We invite you to submit a paper for presentation at the Congress. Abstracts (in English and limited to 300 words) must be submitted to one specific session. Session organizers will be responsible for selecting papers that fit their topic, and reassigning others to the conference ‘open paper’ session. The program committee will work to ensure disciplinary diversity and content compatibility when assigning individual papers within the ‘open paper’ sessions.
Congress guidelines and a link to the abstract submission system can be found on the IRSA Congress 2016 website.

The XIV World Congress of Rural Sociology encourages interdisciplinary dialogue, exchange and collaboration in order to enhance the contributions and applications of sociological inquiry for understanding and improving the life conditions and experiences of people located in, identified with, and concerned about, rural places and communities worldwide. The program for the Congress will include keynote lectures by invited speakers providing fresh, integrative insights and challenges for rural sociological inquiry and practice. It will also include varied opportunities and venues for participants to present results of their research and engage with other scholars and practitioners from around the world, within traditional paper sessions, thematic panel discussions or debates, roundtables, workshops or performances.

Mapping the State of Play on the Global Food Landscape

The Special issue of Canadian Food Studies on Mapping the State of Play on the Global Food Landscape is now online and freely available here:  http://canadianfoodstudies.uwaterloo.ca/index.php/cfs/index

I have published a piece about the need for reflexive governance arrangements for sustainable food security. You can find that here:   http://canadianfoodstudies.uwaterloo.ca/index.php/cfs/article/view/104/135

Please share the link to the issue with your colleagues and networks. The articles are freely available online.

Here is what Raj Patel and Frances Moore Lappé had to say about the special issue

That it is possible to have a journal entitled Canadian Food Studies, and that this journal should produce a special issue populated by so many different, and thoughtful, critiques of the global food system is testament to the work of many of the scholars whose names appear in the table of contents. It is particularly pleasing that today’s food studies A-list has produced a collection that is so directly useful to, and nurturing of, a future generation of scholars. Today’s frontiers of enquiry—from finance to the contours of a twenty-first century right to food—are excitingly different from those a generation ago, and every paper in the collection crackles with good ideas.

Yet much work remains, particularly for students of food in the world’s largest and second largest settler colonies, Canada and the United States. We need more explicitly to be thinking about the relationships of food, race, first nations and colonialism. Many of the dynamics explored at a global level—intellectual property, land, trade, finance, and above all sovereignty—have their antecedents in historical and contemporary food politics within Canada and the United States.

But it is not unreasonable to hope that the passion, concern for the development of younger scholars, and depth of analysis that characterizes the contributions to this outward-looking special issue might in the future be turned inward, to Canada’s ongoing colonial moment.

The promise of tomorrow’s analysis can be seen in the acuity of today’s and, for that, readers like me can look forward to being doubly grateful for this collection.

-Raj Patel, author of Stuffed and Starved and The Value of Nothing

In my 45 years of striving to understand and address the roots of hunger, I found the “Mapping the Global Food Landscape” workshop to be uniquely helpful in several ways. It gathered specialists across a wide range of disciplines, yet never lost focus. It was truly interactive, while allowing presenters opportunity to share the complexity of their work.

The vision and reality of the gathering enabled participants to understand hunger’s causes and solutions from a systems point of view. Participants brought together insights into the impact of finance, trade and genetic technology and wove these into fresh analysis of the movement toward food as a human right and “food sovereignty” as an expression of an earth-based ethic of self-determination arising in diverse cultures.

The volume of work gathered here holds, therefore, especially powerful potential for enabling scholars and advocates alike to evolve a needed systems understanding of the hunger crisis and its solutions.

-Frances Moore Lappé, Small Planet Institute, author of EcoMind: Changing the Way We Think to Create the World We Want and Hope’s Edge: The Next Diet for A Small Diet

Essay competition to express innovative solutions and ideas on extensive livestock!

Take this unique opportunity to contribute to the international expo and conference ‘Herding for the Markets’ and write an essay about your ideas on extensive livestock.

Winners will have the opportunity to present their ideas during the conference to an expert audience!

AgriProFocus and its partners Kenya Commercial Bank Foundation (KCBF), Kenya Livestock Marketing Council (KLMC),Kenya Markets Trust (KMT) and SNV Kenya (Netherlands Development Organization) will host the first regional extensive livestock expo from 4 th to 6th November 2015 in Nairobi.

The expo will bring together local, regional and international livestock breeders, extensive livestock keepers, processors,marketers, industry regulators, policy makers, researchers, academia and many other value chain players. The conference programme is geared around the following 5 topics:

  1. Extensive livestock production systems – pasture, breeding, livestock health.
  2. Market access – infrastructure, producer organization,value addition.
  3. Adaptation and mitigation of extensive livestock risks, climate risks, community conflict risks, natural resources management, price fluctuation risks.
  4. Access to finance.
  5. Partnerships and engagements with all stakeholders.

The essay competition is part of the conference programme. The aim is to give young professionals the opportunity to share your innovative ideas and solutions on one of the five topics and share these unique, innovative and “game changing” practises and stories on Herding for the Markets.

Submission of your essay:

Essays can be entered by any individual up to 35 years old based in Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. Faculty members and post-graduate students affiliated to universities in the region are particularly encouraged to apply.

Expert juries will select the best 2 essays per country. The authors of the winning essays will be invited to the conference for poster presentations. All costs will be covered.

Have a look at thr website to check the criteria for participation and how to submit your essay: http://agriprofocus.com/essay-competition-2015-herding

Essays should be submitted via mail to: essay@extlivestockexpo.com

Deadline for submission is 15th of September 2015

For more information on the Extensive livestock Expo, visit http://extlivestockexpo.com/

International Masters in Rural Development: Field Visit to Soc Trang Province, Vietnam

As I explained last week, I am representing the Rural Sociology Group in a case study summer programme organized by Can Tho University’s Mekong Delta Development Research Institute.

Meeting with district representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development

Meeting with district representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development

On Friday, August 7th, the Case Study group visited two areas in the Soc Trang province of Vietnam. The first stop was a visit to a district office of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Here, students and staff were able to ask officials questions related to their selected research topics and interests. One policy initiative we learnt about was a plan to increase the number of dairy cows in rural areas as a poverty reduction strategy. This programme stems from the national Agricultural Restructuring Plan where key crops and animals were identified, dairy cows being one of them.

Pigs for bio gas and food

Pigs for bio gas and food

From there we moved to My Xuyen district where food production is centred on upland crops. We visited two farms here. The first had cows and pigs and were producing bio gas. In this family, the husband undertook farm labour and the wife worked a government job.

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Mekon Delta Case Study: Agricultural transformation in developing countries under contexts of urbanization and climate change


Here is what I am getting up to this month!

Originally posted on Rural Sociology Wageningen University:

Welcome to Can Tho University Welcome to Can Tho University

For the month of August the Mekong Delta Development Research Institute (MDI) is hosting a summer school case study on Agricultural transformation in developing countries under contexts of urbanization and climate change- the case of the Vietnamese Mekong Delta, for the International Master of Science in Rural Development (IMRD) programme from Ghent University.  Wageningen’s Rural Sociology Group is involved in the IMRD programme and as a result, I was able to come and participate in a supportive capacity for the first two weeks.

Case Study Participants at Can Tho University Case Study Participants at Can Tho University

About the Mekong Delta Development Research Institute (MDI)

MDI is an interdisciplinary organization of Can Tho University (Can Tho, Vietnam). It was established in 2005 from the Mekong Delta Farming Systems Research and Development Institute. MDI has the mission to “improve life quality of rural people and ensure socio-economic and environmental sustainability of the…

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