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Kah Seng Loh and Michael D. Pante

A history of urban floods underlines the state's efforts to discipline people as well as to control floodwaters. We focus on two big cities in Southeast Asia—Singapore and Metro Manila—in the period from after World War II until the 1980s. During this period, both cities traversed similar paths of demographic and socioeconomic change that had an adverse impact on the incidence of flooding. Official responses to floods in Singapore and Manila, too, shared the common pursuit of two objectives. The first was to tame nature by reducing the risk of flooding through drainage and other technical measures, as implemented by a modern bureaucracy. The second was to discipline human nature by eradicating “bad” attitudes and habits deemed to contribute to flooding, while nurturing behavior considered civic-minded and socially responsible. While Singapore's technocratic responses were more effective overall than those in Metro Manila, the return of floodwaters to Orchard Road in recent years has highlighted the shortcomings of high modernist responses to environmental hazards. This article argues that in controlling floods—that is, when nature is deemed hazardous—the state needs to accommodate sources of authority and expertise other than its own.

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Lam Yee Man

in the 1980s—ozone depletion—resulted in the banning of the use of chlorofluorocarbon (CFC). Risk drives change because risk, according to Ulrich Beck, is disruptive and subversive. Risk refers to “calculable uncertainties,” a problem generated by

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Erland Mårald and Erik Westholm

the late 1970s; in the 1980s, fertilizer use decreased and reports of fungus damage to exotic tree plantations led to their significant reduction ( Lindkvist et al. 2011 ). In Germany, alarm was raised in the early 1980s about reduced forest growth and

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Neoliberal Water Management

Trends, Limitations, Reformulations

Kathryn Furlong

The impact of neoliberal policy reform on water management has been a topic of significant debate since the mid-1980s. On one side, a number of organizations have generated an abundant literature in support of neoliberal reforms to solve a range of water governance challenges. To improve water efficiency, allocation, and management, supporters have advocated the introduction and/or strengthening of market mechanisms, private sector ownership and operation, and business-like administration. Other individuals and groups have responded critically to the prescribed reforms, which rarely delivered the predicted results or became fully actualized. This article endeavors to articulate the varying sets of claims, to analyze the trends, to test them against their forecasted benefits, and to examine certain prominent proposals for reforming the reforms. The water sector experience with neoliberalization reveals several sets of contradictions within the neoliberal program, and these are discussed in the final section of the article.

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Dieter Rink

Since about the 1980s shrinkage has become a new normality especially for European cities and urban regions. As a consequence of the shrinking process, new dimensions of wastelands appear in the affected cities. Urban planners have to find solutions for these “holes” in the urban fabric and new visions are needed for open spaces. In the last few years, the wilderness concept has emerged in the planning field and it has become a fashionable term, in particular in urban restructuring in eastern Germany. If wilderness is a usable concept for urban restructuring, can wilderness be a new structuring element for urban planning? This article analyzes the mechanisms of formation of wasteland in shrinking cities, and then focuses on related debates in urban planning as well as the debates in urban ecology and nature conservation research. The article concludes by considering different aspects of these debates and the question of which role wilderness can play in shrinking cities is discussed.

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Pigs, Fish, and Birds

Toward Multispecies Ethnography in Melanesia

Katharina Schneider

This article reviews two strengths of Melanesian anthropology that could make a significant contribution to anthropological research on human-animal relations, specifically to multispecies ethnography. The first strength is an analytical approach to comparative research on gender developed in response to challenges from feminist theory in the 1980s; the second is a wealth of ethnographic detail on human-animal relations, much of it contained in texts not explicitly concerned with them and thus largely inaccessible to nonspecialist readers. The article sets up an analogy between the challenges faced by feminist anthropologists and those currently faced by multispecies ethnographers. It demonstrates how pursuing the analogy allows multispecies ethnographers to draw together analytically, and to reinvestigate a broad range of ethnographic resources containing details on human-animal relations, whose convergence so far remains hidden by divergent theoretical interests.

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Mega-Plantations in Southeast Asia

Landscapes of Displacement

Miles Kenney-Lazar and Noboru Ishikawa

This article reviews a wide body of literature on the emergence and expansion of agro-industrial, monoculture plantations across Southeast Asia through the lens of megaprojects. Following the characterization of megaprojects as displacement, we define mega-plantations as plantation development that rapidly and radically transforms landscapes in ways that displace and replace preexisting human and nonhuman communities. Mega-plantations require the application of large amounts of capital and political power and the transnational organization of labor, capital, and material. They emerged in Southeast Asia under European colonialism in the nineteenth century and have expanded again since the 1980s at an unprecedented scale and scope to feed global appetites for agro-industrial commodities such as palm oil and rubber. While they have been contested by customary land users, smallholders, civil society organizations, and even government regulators, their displacement and transformation of Southeast Asia’s rural landscapes will likely endure for quite some time.

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Richard York, Christina Ergas, Eugene A. Rosa, and Thomas Dietz

We examine trends since 1980 in material extraction in China, India, Indonesia, and Japan—which together contain over 40% of the world's population—to assess the environmental consequences of modernization. Economic and population growth has driven rapid expansion of material extraction in China, India, and Indonesia since 1980. China and India exhibit patterns consistent with the Jevons paradox, where the economic intensity of extraction (extraction/GDP) has steadily declined while total extraction grew. In Indonesia, extraction intensity grew along with total extraction. In Japan, total extraction remained roughly constant, increasing somewhat in the 1980s and then slowly declining after 1990, while extraction intensity declined throughout the entire period. These different patterns can be understood to some degree by drawing on political-economic and world-systems perspectives. Japan is an affluent, core nation that can afford to import materials from other nations, thereby avoiding escalation of material extraction within its borders. China and India are rapidly industrializing nations that, although increasingly drawing on resources from beyond their borders, still rely on their own natural resources for growth. Indonesia, an extraction economy with less global power than the other nations examined here, exports its own natural resources, often unprocessed, to spur economic growth. The trends highlighted here suggest that in order to avert environmental crisis, alternative forms of development, which do not involve traditional economic growth, may need to be adopted by nations around the world.

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Dieter Rink and Sigrun Kabisch

Since about the 1980s, shrinkage processes have been observed mainly

in the developed countries. Although population decreases has been

the main focus, other phenomena—such as the reduction of jobs, the

restructuring of industrial and urban regions, and the scarcity of public

commodities and natural resources—also deserve attention. Shrinkage

is by no means becoming the dominant mode of development

though some regional exceptions do exist. In this sense, it is comparable

to the modern growth processes that do not run concordantly.

Modern shrinkage processes are concentrated in certain economic

branches, institutions, social groups, and last but not least, regions.

Consequently, we find profound disparities with some countries where

parts of society face shrinkage processes while others face growth

processes. As observed by some scholars (e.g., Oswalt 2008), the growth

mode is losing its dominance in modern societies. However, a paradigm

shift toward shrinkage has not yet taken place. Rather one has

to assume a longer phase of side-by-side, contra-, and co-operative

growth and shrinkage processes. This phase may be shaped by its own

contradictions and conflicts, in particular by a high level of uncertainty.

In contrast to the social growth phase roughly until the early

1970s, this phase will probably be less easy to steer. Although growth

coalitions, typical for the previous phase, were based on the assumption

that profits were redistributed as welfare, the shrinkage alliances

are confronted with the financing of losses. Shrinkage processes challenge

operational routines and bring with them new positions of interest

that require novel coalitions among actors.

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US–México border states and the US military–industrial complex

A Global Space for expanding transnational capital

Juan Manuel Sandoval Palacios

The restructuring of world capitalism in the 1970s and 1980s led to the emergence of the globalization of production and finance circuits of capital. Scholars such as Robinson (2004 , 2014 ) have contended that globalization constitutes a