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Management Speak

Indigenous Knowledge and Bureaucratic Engagement

Sally Babidge, Shelley Greer, Rosita Henry and Christine Pam

In this article we examine the concept of 'indigenous knowledge' as it is currently used in resource management discourse. In the process of engaging with government agents and researchers in the bureaucracy of resource management, indigenous knowledge is a powerful concept in the legitimization of local indigenous practice as well as the recognition of resource and socio-environmental management aspirations. Our use of the phrase 'management speak' frames our analysis of these bureaucratic engagements as process (management) and dialogue, rather than a 'space'. We do so in order to gain insights into the politics and practice of these engagements that might go beyond recognition of indigenous interests and toward more practical approaches. Our discussion draws on research conducted at Yarrabah Aboriginal Community in northern Queensland in relation to marine resource management in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

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James F. Eder

English abstract: Degradation and reconfiguration of natural resources in coastal and upland Southeast Asia have set in motion a characteristic process of rural livelihood diversification with significant implications for gender roles and economic well-being. Drawing primarily on case material from the Philippines, this paper explores the transformations in household economies that have accompanied the search for more profitable and sustainable livelihoods and suggests how state and NGO interventions might encourage an entrepreneurial and economically desirable pattern of household-level diversification instead of a debilitating and wage-labor based pattern of individual-level diversification. These interventions include an expanded role for credit; skills training and related forms of support, particularly for women; protection of newly developing household enterprises from competition from large commercial operations; and more consensual and socially equitable forms of environmental governance.

Spanish abstract: La degradación y la reconfiguración de los recursos naturales en zonas costeras y tierras altas del sudeste asiático han impulsado un proceso particular de diversificación de los medios de vida rurales, con significativas consecuencias para los roles de género y el bienestar económico. A partir de una investigación realizada por el autor en las Filipinas, este trabajo explora las transformaciones de la economía de los hogares que han acompañado la búsqueda de medios de vida más rentables y sostenibles. Además, sugiere que las intervenciones del gobierno y de las ONG pueden fomentar un proceso de diversificación de ingresos en la economía de los hogares (household economies), emprendedor y económicamente deseable, en lugar de un modelo de diversificación individual debilitante basado en la relación entre salario y empleo. Estas intervenciones incluyen un rol ampliado de las formas de crédito, capacitacion y otras formas de apoyo, específicos para mujeres, protección de las nacientes empresas familiares frente a la competencia de grandes granjas comerciales, y formas de gobernanza medioambiental más consensuales y socialmente responsables.

French abstract: La dégradation et la reconfiguration des ressources naturelles sur les côtes et les hautes terres de l'Asie du Sud Est ont entamé un processus caractéristique de la diversification des moyens de subsistance en milieu rural, avec des implications considérables pour les rôles de genre et le bien-être économique. Se basant principalement sur des données venant des Philippines, cet article examine les transformations des revenus des ménages qui ont accompagné la recherche de moyens de subsistance plus durables et plus profitables. En outre, l'article suggère de quelle façon les interventions de l'État et des ONG peuvent encourager un modèle audacieux et économiquement souhaitable de diversification au niveau des ménages, au lieu d'un modèle de diversification au niveau de l'individu, débilitant et basé sur la relation salaire/travail. Ces interventions comprennent un rôle accru du crédit, des formations professionnelles et des formes de soutien apparentées (en particulier pour les femmes), la protection des entreprises des ménages tout juste en développement vis à vis de la compétition avec les grandes exploitations commerciales, ainsi que des formes de gouvernance environnementale plus consensuelles et socialement équitables.

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Phil Tattersall

Conflict over natural resource usage has been ongoing in Tasmania for many years. There continues to be considerable community concern, disquiet and conflict over forestry management practices. In an analysis of his numerous community support projects the author saw an opportunity to involve community members in decisions relating to natural resource management. An interest in action research led him to propose a form of activism based on the ideas of post-normal science (PNS). The idea of the extended peer review aspect of post-normal science has been used in the development of a participative inquiry methodology known as community-based auditing (CBA). The contributions to theory and practice of PNS and environmental activism are thought to be significant. Several cases are briefly discussed.

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Jamon Alex Halvaksz and Heather E. Young-Leslie

The literature on environment-animal-human relations, place, and space, tends to emphasize cultural differences between global interests and local environmental practices. While this literature contributes substantially to our understanding of resource management, traditional ecological knowledge, and environmental protection, the work of key persons imbricated in both global and local positions has been elided. In this article, we propose a theory of “ecographers” as individuals particularly positioned to relate an indigenous epistemology of the local environment with reference to traditional and introduced forms of knowledge, practice, and uses of places, spaces, and inter-species relationships. We ground our analysis in ethnographic research among two Pacific communities, but draw parallels with individuals from varied ethnographic and environmental settings. This new concept offers a powerful cross-cultural approach to ecological strategizing relationships; one grounded by local yet globally and historically inflected agents of the present.

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Indigenousness and the Mobility of Knowledge

Promoting Canadian Governance Practices in the Russian North

Elana Wilson

This article illustrates ways in which a Canadian international development team attempted to legitimate the transfer of natural resource management and economic development models from the Canadian to the Russian North by positing the notion of fundamental similarities between Canadian and Russian northern indigenous peoples. Drawing upon interviews and my participation in the development project, I demonstrate ways in which Russian northern leaders responded to these supposed shared features and describe how the definition of indigenous was debated by Canadian and Russian project participants. Namely, indigenous project participants disagreed over whether indigenousness was rooted in descent or activity and what kind of economic future (mainstream market-oriented or rooted in subsistence practices) could sustain indigenous peoples. I conclude that indigenousness as a unity discourse may facilitate good international politics, but does not serve as an unproblematic mechanism for knowledge transfer and crosscultural communication on a level closer to home.

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Victoria C. Ramenzoni and David Yoskowitz

After Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina, governmental organizations have placed the development of metrics to quantify social impacts, resilience, and community adaptation at the center of their agendas. Following the premise that social indicators provide valuable information to help decision makers address complex interactions between people and the environment, several interagency groups in the United States have undertaken the task of embedding social metrics into policy and management. While this task has illuminated important opportunities for consolidating social and behavioral disciplines at the core of the federal government, there are still significant risks and challenges as quantification approaches move forward. In this article, we discuss the major rationale underpinning these efforts, as well as the limitations and conflicts encountered in transitioning research to policy and application. We draw from a comprehensive literature review to explore major initiatives in institutional scenarios addressing community well-being, vulnerability, and resilience in coastal and ocean resource management agencies.

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Water Use and User Attitudes

Common-Pool Resources and Longitudinal Change in a Brazilian Community

John Marr Ditty and Maria Eugênia Totti

Common-pool resources (CPRs) are subtractable resources that are physically or institutionally available for many users. The present study sought primary participant observation and focus group data on a Brazilian CPR-dependent community. It analyzes this data through the lens of CPR theory to assess ongoing local natural resource management efforts against longitudinal changes related to large-scale state and private development projects. The findings indicate that real or perceived changes related to the resources, technology, human populations, and decision-making processes in the study area have disrupted social arrangements and resulted in natural resource degradation. The article argues that, in order to achieve sustainability objectives, CPR-guided policy formulation must consider the social embeddedness of community-based actors and resources within their wider historical and social contexts, as well as user attitudes and relations among shifting conditions on multiple scales.

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Silvia Posocco

This article considers debates concerning the contribution of anthropology to an understanding of vernacular and marginal forms of cosmopolitanism in relation to the environmental cosmopolitics of zoning practices in and around the Maya Biosphere Reserve (MBR), Petén, Guatemala. Zoning practices realize political and economic restructuring, integration, and fragmentation through conditionality and exceptionalism. The rationale for zoning of MBR territories evident in UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Programme and USAID MAYAREMA Resource Management Project have combined the instrumentalism of aid-tied development with a cosmopolitan appeal to the protection of the global environment in the interests of “humanity” imagined as an internally differentiated, and yet singular entity. As zoning practices have emerged as forms of conditionality placed on a range of human activities, they have been called into question by “Other” discrepant and cosmopolitan constituencies advancing different imagined relations between cosmos and polis, “environment” and “society.” The article considers discrepant zoning practices and related imaginings adopted by the Communities of Population in Resistance. Q'eqchi' perspectives are also addressed, notably with reference to the environmental cosmopolitics of indigenous religious practice. By exploring the environmental cosmopolitics of the MBR, the article argues that through anthropological knowledge practices, plural and over lapping cosmovisions and related vernacular and discrepant forms of environmental cosmopolitanism are brought into view. The task lies in grappling with relativization, pluralization, and complexity as these follow on from anthropological knowledge practices and environmental cosmopolitan zoning practices alike.

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Harlan Koff and Carmen Maganda

The Consortium for Comparative Research on Regional Integration and Social Cohesion (RISC) was born in 2007 following a conference on Social Cohesion in Europe at the Americas. (Koff, 2009) The rich discussions addressed numerous social cohesion issues in the aforementioned continents, such as human rights, social vulnerability, risk and welfare, environmental challenges and social cohesion, the relationship between borders, states and regions and urban violence. While the relevance of each of these issues to social cohesion was clear from the outset of our discussions, understanding their contributions to the conceptualization of social cohesion was far more difficult. In fact, these debates raised numerous questions that underlie social cohesion debates: What relationships exist between rights, responsibilities and cohesion? For what protections and services are governments responsible vis-à-vis their citizens under social cohesion policies? What relationships exist between social cohesion, risk and vulnerability? How does natural resource management affect social cohesion? How is social cohesion affected by territorial scales? And how can social cohesion address urban marginalization and violence?