*** Posted on behalf of the organizers ***
Call for papers Political Ecology Network (POLLEN) Bi-annual conference, Oslo 20-22 June 2018
Organizers: Kristi-Anne Stølen, Mariel Aguilar-Støen, Jostein Jakobsen and Susanne Normann.
Land and resources are back on the political agenda—at the heart of contemporary conflicts over livelihoods and environments, both mundane and dramatic. While global land grabbing for infrastructure, industries, agriculture and conservation is central to the debate, these ongoing processes are linked to a much wider spectrum of interests connecting states to markets while disconnecting people from places. New resource frontiers are constantly emerging and expanding in rural areas across the world, reconfiguring rural localities’ relations to broader political and economic forces. Resource frontiers take various forms, including agro-industrial plantations, extractive industries, energy production, tourism and nature conservation such as REDD. As new areas become entangled in global capitalist circuits, others are abandoned, often with devastating consequences, sometimes silently. Contemporary rural transformations are shaped not only by the fluctuations of capital, but also by domestic and international migration as well as by state and non-state forms of governance. Yet, as scholarship both in and beyond political ecology has long shown, rural transformations are composed of complex interactions between ostensibly exogenous forces and very much localized counterparts. By interrogating these interactions we can arrive at more dynamic understandings, also, of “the way in which power is lived and inequality is normalized at the nexus of force, consent, and the production of desires for particular ways of living” (Li 2014: 16).
In this panel we go beyond existing case studies of ‘land grabbing’, ‘extraction’, or ‘capitalization’ from above. Rural communities are often tied to the land and rural identities are often rooted in the soil and in agrarian practices; yet, rural communities always straddle multiple worlds, engaging not only in farming, but also a host of other activities. As such, rural responses to capitalist transformations range from resistance through various forms of complicity to maneuvering and speculation. Such agency manifests in projects and processes that both involve agriculture and go far beyond it, intimately shaped by rural people’s hopes, wishes and aspirations. Consequently, in the 21st century, ‘the rural’ is increasingly decoupled from ‘the agrarian’ in ways that warrant new critical rethinking of rural transformations.
We invite contributions that explore how rural transformations link individuals and communities to broader questions of political economy, examining questions such as (but not limited to): How do rural people respond to new resource frontiers and their booms and busts? What forms of resistance and contestations are emerging in the midst of contemporary rural transformations? What forms of local, national, transnational and global alliances of rural people and other actors are taking shape and with what consequences?
Li, T. 2014. Lands end: Capitalist relations on an indigenous frontier. Duke University Press.