CfP POLLEN18: Drylands and “New” Accumulations of Wealth

*** Posted on behalf of the organizers ***

POLLEN18: Political Ecology, the Green Economy, and Alternative Sustainabilities, 20-22 June 2018, Oslo and Akershus University College, Oslo, Norway

Drylands and “New” Accumulations of Wealth

Organizers: Bilal Butt (University of Michigan) and Annemiek Pas Schrijver (Stockholm University)

Amid multiple socio-ecological and political changes and uncertainties, mobile pastoralism continues as a livelihood system for millions of people in drylands. While drylands have been previously (and in some cases continue to be) understood as unproductive and conflict prone, these areas are now becoming key sites for the accumulation of wealth and circulation of capitalism in a number of ways.

First, new ‘discoveries’ in these frontier areas are transforming drylands into landscapes of energy through the harnessing of renewable and non-renewable energies including solar farms, wind and hydropower and oil wells. State efforts at harnessing these energies are part of grand modernist visions seeking to increase the national GDP. Thus, states increasingly invest in key infrastructures, such as road, railways, pipelines, airport and resort cities in order to (re)gain control over drylands which have long been abandoned by the state.

Second, drylands are places where livestock and wildlife are sympatric. The creation and expansion of protected areas through state national parks and private/community conservancies are predicated on triple win goals of biodiversity conservation, economic development and security. Increasingly high value tourism is taking place through the construction of luxury camps and lodges, often catering to foreign elites. These ventures construct nature and culture as existing in separate realms, and pastoralists and their livestock are seasonally restricted in their resource use and access of these spaces.

Both these landscapes predicate growth on creating and sustaining resilient communities through local employment and other multiplier effects. These claims often displace pastoral rights to resources and mobility necessary to sustain their livelihood systems. In this session, we hope to provide critical insights into question that include, but are not limited to: Who frames the meanings and interpretations of ‘development’ in drylands?  How do people adapt to maintain access to resources amid these changes (particularly in respect to mobile herding decision-making)? How do people resist and mobilize themselves politically to development related loss of control over resources or displacement? How do past and present varieties of ‘green capitalism’ and ‘environmental’ colonialism’ intersect in drylands and to what effect?

We invite contributions to this session. If interested, please send a 250 word abstract to Bilal Butt ( and Annemiek Pas Schrijver ( before 10th December, 2017.



Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s