CfP RGS-IBG 2019: Trust in Rural Land Governance

RGS-IBG 2019 (28th – 30th August 2019, London)


Sponsor: Rural Geographers Research Group (RGRG)

Convenors: Sam Staddon, Clare Barnes, Rachel Hunt (University of Edinburgh)

Trust is at the heart of questions of rural land governance which involve interactions between actors from different sectors (the public, state, non-state and corporate), across multiple levels. Land governance arrangements are often characterised by conflicting perspectives, experiences and interests across and within these sectors, making it imperative to understand processes of establishing, maintaining or losing trust, in such arrangements. Through their ‘typology of trust’ Stern and Baird (2015) argue that trust promotes the efficacy and resilience of natural resource management institutions, however others caution against a naïve focus on promoting good governance as a way to improve trust and relationships (Grindle 2017). Increasing scrutiny of ‘street-level bureaucracy’ (Lipksy 2010) and of the practices and performances of ‘intermediary’ actors (Funder & Marani 2015, Flachs & Richards 2018) highlights the importance of understanding how trust emerges, or flounders, in everyday encounters between actors. Geographers have been challenged to question what trust doeswhere and how it works, and to what end; in part by paying attention to the ‘technologies’ of trust’, in which trust is inscribed through words, numbers, instruments, and space (Withers 2018). Feminist geographers and political ecologists point to the importance of the ir-rational, of emotions, of informal spaces and of embodied everyday encounters and practices in the building of subjectivities, of relations, and thus of trust and cooperation around land governance (Nightingale 2011, Nightingale 2013, Wynne-Jones 2017, Pickerill 2009). Such work advances a perspective attentive to the situated, relational and emergent properties of trust, along with its political, historical, social and cultural dimensions and its material and symbolic expression.

Trust, trustworthiness and distrust are of growing interest to geographers (Withers 2018), but whilst “trust is one of the most fascinating and fundamental social phenomena [it is] at the same time one of the most elusive and challenging concepts one could study” (Lyon et al. 2012 p.1). This session aims to unpack this elusive concept in relation to rural land governance, bringing together experience and insight in relation to the questions such as:

  • How does trust emerge between the range of actors present across difference sectors?
  • How is trust maintained/lost over time, and how is it expressed?
  • What factors, processes, spaces and ‘technologies’ facilitate or inhibit the building of trust?
  • What role does trust play in on-going rural land governance?
  • How might trust be actively promoted and enhanced?
  • How can trust be understood methodologically and conceptually?

We particularly welcome submissions from PhD and ECRs, and those is a variety of formats.

Please submit an abstract of around 250 words to Sam Staddon (, Clare Barnes ( and Rachel Hunt ( by 8th February. Any questions do get in touch!


  • Flachs A. & Richards P. (2018) Playing development roles: the political ecology of performance in agricultural development. Journal of Political Ecology, 25, 638-646.
  • Funder M. & Marani M. (2015) Local Bureaucrats as Bricoleurs. The Everyday Implementation Practices of County Environment Officers in Rural Kenya. International Journal of the Commons, 9, 87–106.
  • Grindle M.  (2017) Good Governance, R.I.P.: A Critique and an Alternative. Governance: An International Journal of Policy, Administration, and Institutions, 30, 17-22.
  • Lipsky M. (2010) Street Level Bureaucracy: Dilemmas of the Individual in Public Services.30th Anniversary Expanded Edition. The Russell Sage Foundation: New York, NY.
  • Lyon F., Mollering G. & Saunders M.N.K. (2012) Handbook of Research Methods on Trust. Edward Elgar: Cheltenham.
  • Nightingale A. (2011) Beyond design principles: Subjectivity, emotion, and the (ir)rational commons. Society & Natural Resources, 24, 119-132.
  • Nightingale A. (2013) Fishing for nature: the politics of subjectivity and emotion in Scottish inshore fisheries management. Environment & Planning A., 45, 2362-2378.
  • Pickerill J. (2009) Finding common ground? Spaces of dialogue and the negotiation of indigenous interests in environmental campaigns in Australia. Geoforum, 40, 66-79.
  • Stern M.J. & Baird T.D. (2015) Trust ecology and the resilience of natural resource management institutions. Ecology and Society, 20, 14.
  • Withers C.W.J. (2018) Trust – in geography. Progress in Human Geography, 42, 489–508.
  • Wynne-Jones S. (2017) Understanding farmer co-operation: Exploring practices of social relatedness and emergent affects. Journal of Rural Studies, 53, 259-268.


8th European Conference on African Studies (ECAS) – Africa: Connections and Disruptions

Edinburgh, June 11-14 2019

CFP New surplus populations in Africa: Ruptures and continuities in rural transitions

Panel Soc02, convened by Michela Marcatelli (Stellenbosch University) and Lerato Thakholi (Wageningen University and Research)

Contemporary land and green grabbing, both accelerated by global environmental challenges and capitalism’s response to them, have brought about a new phase of dispossession and displacement in Africa. These dynamics are highly uneven and context-specific. In some places, they are better understood in connection with the colonial past, whereas in others they represent ruptures within broader processes of rural and environmental change. The consequences on the rural poor differ too, but there is evidence of relative surplus populations emerging, with serious effects on these people’s access to land, natural resources, labour, and livelihoods – while the neoliberal socio-economic system often does not provide any alternatives.

This panel aims to reflect on how the complementary processes of dispossession and displacement are unfolding across present-day Africa. We welcome both theoretical contributions that point out common logics underpinning these phenomena and rich empirical case studies that highlight local differences. We seek to bring together contributors from different disciplines and especially encourage scholars working in the fields of critical agrarian studies, political ecology, and sociology of development to submit their proposals.

The panel intends to address the following questions, among others:

  • What are the connections between dispossession, displacement, environmental change, and capital accumulation in times of land and green grabbing?
  • Who is being made surplus, how, and to what?
  • How are dispossession and displacement affecting rural populations and their social reproduction?
  • What discourses are employed to justify these processes?

To submit a paper proposal online, please visit the following ECAS pages: 

The deadline for submission of paper proposals is January 21.

“Entangled Natures: A Conference on Human Ecology” 

We are happy to inform you that the School of Human Ecology at Ambedkar University Delhi (AUD) is organising a conference titled “Entangled Natures: A Conference on Human Ecology during 14th to 17th February 2019.
The conference will have five thematic panels, speed talks, posters, photo exhibition celebrating a decade of SHE, and an open house and photography competition for undergraduate students. We have just issued a call for papers, which is available on the conference website
Please circulate among those interested. 
Asmita Kabra.

CfP: 8th European Conference on African Studies (ECAS)

8th European Conference on African Studies (ECAS):


Conference will be held at: Centre of African Studies, University of Edinburgh, June 12-14, 2019

CALL FOR PAPERS for the Panel: Mining’s Connective & Disruptive Effects on Human Settlement in Africa 

Panel ref no Econ25 convened by Deborah Bryceson & Kate Symons, Centre of African Studies, University of Edinburgh           

Over time, many African countries have witnessed mining booms followed by quiescence. Mining of non-renewable resources (minerals, oil and gas) is associated with uneven development, including cycles of expectant discovery, mobilization of capital and labour for mineral extraction leading to peak production, followed by diminishing production to the point of cessation. The demographic size and economic and social forms of mining settlements are impacted by mineral depletion, fluctuations in global mineral prices, national and local politics, as well as numerous contextual specificities. This panel probes when, where & how such dynamics happen.

Along the mining settlement cycle, a number of interactive connections and disruptions occur including:

1)       speculative labour flows and market demand for land related to the initiation and progress of mining exploration creating ‘economies of desire’;

2)       mining’s dislocative and stimulating impacts on rural settlements over the mining cycle;

3)       competing resource and land use engendering ecological change;

4)       conflict and contention over land uses (e.g. mining vs conservation areas);

5)       urban growth from boom town to ghost towns or non-mineral take-off of the settlement;

6)       changing social and economic character of settlement in relation to settlement: sex ratios, occupational patterns and class and ethnic reconfigurations;

7)       aspects of indirect urbanization in the aftermath of mineral booms, when mining profits are invested in housing and businesses beyond the mining site;

8)       the contentious divide between mine labourers’ formal housing as opposed to residence in informal settlements.

Evolutionary case studies of a single location or analytical comparisons of settlement patterns in relation to differences exemplified by: forms of minerals, geographical regions, size of urban settlement, small versus large-scale mining, etc. are welcome.

ECAS instructions for submission of paper proposals:

Only one paper/contribution per person!

Please note that an individual must not make more than one solo-authored paper proposal or roundtable contribution (although they may also convene one panel/roundtable; or be a discussant or chair in one panel).

All paper proposals must consist of:

  • a paper title
  • name/s and email address/es of author/s
  • a short abstract of fewer than 300 characters
  • a long abstract of fewer than 250 words

The main conference language being English, this information should be submitted in either English or French.

The Call for Papers is open. Your paper proposal must be submitted via the panel’s link (Econ25) on the ECAS conference website.

 On submission of the proposal, the proposing author (but not the co-authors) will receive an automated email confirming receipt. If you do not receive this email, please first check the Login environment – Cocoa (see toolbar above right) to see if your proposal is there. If it is, it simply means your confirmation email got spammed/lost; if it is not, you will need to re-submit, as for some reason the process was not completed. Co-authors cannot be added/removed nor can papers be withdrawn by the proposers themselves – for that, please email .

Proposals will be marked as pending until the end of the call for papers. Convenors will then be asked to make their decisions over the papers proposed to their panel with two weeks of the end of the CFP and to communicate those to the proposers, marking them up within the login environment (Cocoa).

All presenting authors (of accepted papers) will be expected to register online in advance of the event and pay a registration fee to attend.

The deadline for submission of your paper proposal is JANUARY 21st.

Final CfP NGM2019 – Agency, Institutions, and Empirics in Environmentality Studies

** With apologies for cross-posting **

Agency, Institutions, and Empirics in Environmentality Studies
Call for Papers, 8th Nordic Geographers’ Meeting (NGM), Sustainable Geography – Geographies of Sustainability
Trondheim, Norway, 16-19 June 2019
Conference website:

Session organizers: Connor J. Cavanagh,1 Tor A. Benjaminsen,1 Rob Fletcher2
1 Department of International Environment and Development Studies (Noragric), Norwegian University of Life Sciences
2 Sociology of Development and Change, Wageningen University, the Netherlands
Abstract deadline: 10 December 2018

In human geography and political ecology, the last three decades have witnessed sustained interest with the ways in which Michel Foucault’s notion of ‘governmentality’ pertains (or does not) to the intertwined governance of human communities and the (bio)physical environment. Following key contributions by Luke (1995, 1999), Agrawal (2005), Fletcher (2010), and others, it might be said that these and similar inquiries have since led to the formation of an implicit sub-field of ‘green governmentality’ or ‘environmentality’ studies. Not least, research in this domain has recently been reinvigorated by a new wave of interest into the “multiple environmentalities” (Fletcher 2017) at work within efforts to address contemporary environment and development challenges, as well as how these may intersect, synergize, or even contradict each other within a variety of distinct historical and geographical conjunctures (see also Singh 2013; Youdelis 2013; Bluwstein 2017; Cavanagh 2018). 

Many of these studies have greatly enriched our understanding both of how power operates in and through the governance of the environment, as well as how distinct types of “environmental subjects” (Agrawal 2005) can be produced and reproduced over space and time. In doing so, however, they also raise a number of second-order political and methodological questions, which arguably warrant a renewed phase of explicit discussion and reflection. Indeed, the political stakes of these studies are perhaps especially relevant for political ecology if we conceive of the latter as an “explicitly normative” field of inquiry, concerned not only with “the hatchet” of analysis and critique, but also with “planting the seed” of alternative social and ecological relations (e.g. Robbins 2012: 13, see also Cavanagh and Benjaminsen 2017). Can scholars of environmentality, for instance, offer a more robust or detailed theory of individual and collective agency in the pursuit of such alternative ‘seeds’? How do Foucaultian insights into subject formation and “the conduct of conduct” complicate our understanding of both ‘resistance’ or other ‘responses from below’ (e.g. Hall et al. 2015) within the workings of multiple environmentalities? What is the role of variegated institutional arrangements – whether statutory or customary, formal or informal – in mediating, constraining, or enabling diverse environmentalities and the scope of responses to these? Most pressingly, perhaps, how should we conceive the role of historically and geographically diverse empirical data or knowledge in environmentality studies, and where might such knowledge be most productively reasserted as primarily the source or catalyst rather than the object of theoretical reflection?

Seeking to contribute to these ongoing discussions and debates, we invite paper proposals engaging the above questions and/or related methodological, political, and conceptual foci. Relevant topics might include, amongst others, the following:

  • ·      Methodology and the philosophy of science in environmentality studies
  • ·      Dialogues and debates between or across critical realism, “critical institutionalism” (Cleaver 2012; Hall et al. 2014), and Foucaultian social science
  • ·      Geographical and historical variegation in the workings of multiple governmentalities or environmentalities
  • ·      Critical perspectives on institutions and agency in Foucaultian theory and analysis
  • ·      Interactions between multiple environmentalities across divergently produced scales, spaces, and places
  • ·      Agency, ‘resistance’, counter-conduct or parrhesia (e.g. Legg 2018), and other ‘responses from below’ (Hall et al. 2015)
  • ·      Politics and “explicitly normative” (Robbins 2012) argumentation or analysis vis-à-vis Foucaultian theory and philosophy

Please send abstracts of approximately 250 words to Connor Joseph Cavanagh ( by 10 December 2018. Authors will be notified about the status of their submission as soon as possible thereafter.


Agrawal, A. (2005). Environmentality: technologies of government and the making of subjects. Durham: Duke University Press.

Bluwstein, J. (2017). Creating ecotourism territories: Environmentalities in Tanzania’s community-based conservation. Geoforum83, 101-113.

Cavanagh, C. J. (2018). Political ecologies of biopower: diversity, debates, and new frontiers of inquiry. Journal of Political Ecology25(1), 402-425.

Cavanagh, C. J., & Benjaminsen, T. A. Political ecology, variegated green economies, and the foreclosure of alternative sustainabilities. Journal of Political Ecology24(1), 200-216.

Cleaver, F. (2012). Development through bricolage: Rethinking institutions for natural resource management. London: Routledge.

Fletcher, R. (2010). Neoliberal environmentality: towards a poststructuralist political ecology of the conservation debate. Conservation and society8(3), 171-181.

Fletcher, R. (2017). Environmentality unbound: Multiple governmentalities in environmental politics. Geoforum85, 311-315.

Hall, K., Cleaver, F., Franks, T., & Maganga, F. (2014). Capturing critical institutionalism: A synthesis of key themes and debates. The European Journal of Development Research26(1), 71-86.

Hall, R., Edelman, M., Borras Jr, S. M., Scoones, I., White, B., & Wolford, W. (2015). Resistance, acquiescence or incorporation? An introduction to land grabbing and political reactions ‘from below’. Journal of Peasant Studies42(3-4), 467-488.

Luke, T.W. 1995. On environmentality: geo-power and eco-knowledge in the discourses of contemporary environmentalism. Cultural Critique 31: 57-81.

Luke, T.W. 1999. Environmentality as green governmentality. In Darier, E. (ed.). Discourses of the environment. Oxford: Blackwell. Pp. 121-151.

Legg, S. (2018). Subjects of truth: Resisting governmentality in Foucault’s 1980s. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space

Robbins, P. (2012). Political ecology: a critical introduction. Second edition. Oxford: Wily-Blackwell.

Singh, N. M. (2013). The affective labor of growing forests and the becoming of environmental subjects: Rethinking environmentality in Odisha, India. Geoforum47, 189-198.

Youdelis, M. (2013). The competitive (dis)advantages of ecotourism in Northern Thailand. Geoforum50, 161-171.

Dr. Connor Joseph Cavanagh
Post-Doctoral Research Fellow
Department of International Environment and Development Studies
Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)
NMBU Staff Profile | Google Scholar ResearchGate | Twitter 
Latest publications:
Sandbrook, C. and C.J. Cavanagh and D. Tumusiime (eds). (2018). Conservation and Development in UgandaNew York and London: Routledge/Earthscan.
Cavanagh, C.J. (2018). Political ecologies of biopower: diversity, debates, and new frontiers of inquiry.Journal of Political Ecology 25(1): 402-425.
Cavanagh, C.J. (2018). Critical ecosystem infrastructure? Governing the forests-water nexus in the Kenyan highlands. In R. Boelens, T. Perreault, and J. Vos (eds). Water JusticeCambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 302-315.
Cavanagh, CJ. (2018). Enclosure, dispossession, and the ‘green economy’: new contours of internal displacement in Liberia and Sierra Leone? African Geographical Review 37(2): 120-133.

CfP Race & Climate Change Workshop, 27th February 2019

CfP Race & Climate Change Workshop, 27th February 2019. Deadline for 200 word abstracts, 14th December

Race & Climate Change

A one-day workshop event followed by a public roundtable session at Birkbeck, University of London, Wednesday February 27 2019

This one-day event offers a space for considering how ‘race’, ‘racialisation’ and ‘racism’ operate as key terms of reference within the political, cultural and economic contexts of climate change. However, whereas ‘climate justice’ is often understood as the sanctioned space for discussions about race and climate change, this event broadens the scope by asking how and to what extent ‘race’ organises the more encompassing discourse of climate change, including its epistemologies (i.e., the history of climate change, climate science, mitigation, adaptation/resilience, geoengineering, justice/law), its institutions (i.e., UNFCCC, IPCC, Green Climate Fund), its geographical imaginaries (i.e., North/South, West/East, developed/developing, settler-colonial/Indigenous), its aesthetic genres (i.e., cinema, cli-fi, media), and its ontological forms (i.e., catastrophe, crisis, apocalypse, futurism). Consequently, the event is set up to grapple with the tension between the racialisation of climate change discourse and the racialised global structures and processes which contribute to a warming world and generate its differential effects on communities across the globe. How this tension plays out in relation to the intersectional dimensions of climate change (i.e., gender, class, and sex/sexuality) is also of paramount concern.

We invite contributions from scholars working on themes related, but not limited, to: Indigeneity, whiteness, blackness, migration, Afrofuturism, Afropessimism, development, the Anthropocene, settler colonialisms, critical race theory, political economy/ecology of oil and gas extraction, postcolonial theory, political theology, race and the international, queer ecology, biopower/geopower, climate change as a racialised object, climate change and fascism and/or the alt-right, and political geology.

Participants are invited to submit 200 word abstracts to any member of the organising committee:

Anupama Ranawana (

Lisa Tilley (

Andrew Baldwin (

Tyler Tully (

Call for papers: Environmental Justice Conference 2019: “Transformative Connections”

Call for papers

Environmental Justice Conference 2019: ‘Transformative Connections’,

University of East Anglia, 2-4 July 2019

 Exploring ‘francophone’ environmental justice approaches

Convenors: Brendan Coolsaet, ESPOL Lille; Valérie Deldrève, IRSTEA Bordeaux

The political ideal of environmental justice (EJ) emerges in the late 1970s in the United States, with the struggles of minorities against unequal spatial distributions of toxic pollution and hazardous waste. The ensuing development of related conceptual frameworks has largely drawn on liberal justice theories and US-inspired critical theory (e.g. Rawls, Young, Fraser, Sen; see Schlosberg 2007). While joining the race a few decades later, francophone scholarship has preferred the concept of ‘environmental inequality’ (inégalité environnementale; e.g. Zaccaï et al 2007) to ‘environmental justice’ (justice environnementale). Not only does this cast the debate in negative terms (inequality), it has also been considered to fall outside of the scope of US-style environmental justice (Laigle and Oehler 2004; Emelianoff 2008; Gagnon et al. 2008). Francophone EJ literature was particularly developed within the premises of sustainable development discourses, focusing on issues such as health (e.g. Charles et al. 2007), poverty alleviation (e.g. Gagnon et al., 2008), urban planning (e.g. Faburel 2011; Laigle and Tual 2007), or territoriality (e.g. Gobert 2010; Emelianoff 2008; Laurent, 2013).

Since the turn of the century, both approaches have largely evolved in parallel, both conceptually and politically. While anglophone EJ scholars have recently called for enlarging the conceptual underpinnings of environmental justice studies (Pellow 2018; Pulido 2017; Holifield, Porter and Walker 2009), ‘francophone’ influences have largely remained a blind spot in the literature, despite the dynamism of both francophone academic (e.g. Blanchon et al., 2011; Hache 2013; Deldrève 2015; Alvarez and Coolsaet 2019) and activist EJ work (e.g. Collectif Mauvaise troupe 2018).

This panel hence focusses on the distinctiveness (or lack thereof) of French/francophone approaches to environmental justice. We hope to move this conversation forward by establishing cross-Channel connections between academic environmental justice networks in the UK and in France. We seek empirically or theoretically framed works that engage with topics such as (but not limited to):

  • The differences and/or similarities between anglo-american/liberal environmental justice and francophone ‘environmental inequality’ (inégalité environnementale)
  • The usefulness/adequacy of anglo-american/liberal environmental justice approaches in francophone contexts
  • The potential of French/francophone thought for EJ, including (but not limited to):
    • French social theory and post-structuralism (e.g. Bourdieu, Derrida, Deleuze, Foucault, Sartre)
    • francophone postcolonial work (e.g. Césaire, Fanon, Mbembe, Senghor, Vergès)
    • French degrowth & political ecology (e.g. Gorz, Latouche)
    • French gender studies, intersectionality, ecofeminism, and ethics of care (e.g. Fassin, Guétat, Hache, Larrère, Stengers, Zitouni)
  • Do EJ struggles in francophone countries generate different political claims?  


If you are interested in contributing a paper to this session, please send your abstract (250 words) to Brendan Coolsaet ( and Valérie Deldrève ( by 10 January 2019.

Information about the conference can be found on


  • Alvarez L. and B. Coolsaet (2019) Decolonizing Environmental Justice Studies: a Latin American perspective. Capitalism Nature Socialism(forthcoming)
  • Blanchon D. ; Gardin J. ; Moreau S. eds. (2011) Justice et injustices environnementales. Presses universitaires de Paris Ouest, Nanterre
  • Charles L. ; Emelianoff C. ; Ghorra-Gobin C. ; Roussel I. ; Roussel F.-X. ; Scarwell H. (2007) Les multiples facettes des inégalités écologiques.Développement durable et territoire 9.
  • Deldrève, V. (2015). Pour une sociologie des inégalités environnementales. Bern, Switzerland: Peter Lang B.
  • Emélianoff C. (2008) La problématique des inégalités écologiques, un nouveau paysage conceptuel. Ecologie et politique 31: 19-31.
  • Faburel G. (2010) Débats sur les inégalités environnementales. Une autre approche de l’environnement urbain. Justice spatiale | spatial justice 2 : 102-132.
  • Fol S. ; Pflieger G. (2000) La justice environnementale aux Etats-Unis : construction et usages d’une catégorie d’analyse et d’une catégorie d’action.Justice Spatiale/Spatial Justice 2: 166-188.
  • Gagnon B. ; Lewis N. ; Ferrari S. (2008) Environnement et pauvreté : regards croisés entre l’éthique et la justice environnementales. Ecologie et politique 35: 79-90.
  • Gobert J. (2010) Ethique environnementale, remédiation écologique et compensations territoriales : entre antinomie et correspondances. Vertigo, vol. 10, n° 1.
  • Hache E. (2013) Justice environnementale, ici et là-bas. Contretemps
  • Laigle L. and Oehler V. (2004) Les enjeux sociaux et environnementaux du développement urbain : la question des inégalités écologiques, Final Report, Centre Scientifique et Technique du Bâtiment, Paris.
  • Laigle L and Mélanie Tual (2007) Conceptions des inégalités écologiques dans cinq pays européens : quelle place dans les politiques de développement urbain durable ? Développement durable et territoires 9
  • Laurent E. (2013) Vers l’égalité des territoires. rapport demandé par la ministre de l’égalité des territoires et du logement, Paris.
  • Holifield, R., M. Porter, and G. Walker (eds.). 2009. Special issue on “Spaces of environmental justice: Frameworks for critical engagement.” Antipode41 (4).
  • Collectif Mauvaise troupe (2018) The Zad and NoTAV: Territorial Struggles and the Making of a New Political Intelligence. Verso Books
  • Pellow, D. 2018. What is Critical Environmental Justice. Polity Press
  • Pulido, L. 2017a. Geographies of race and ethnicity II: Environmental racism, racial capitalism and state-sanctioned violence. Progress in Human Geography 41 (4): 524–533.
  • Schlosberg, D. (2009). Defining environmental justice: Theories, movements, and nature. Oxford University Press.