Drawing from emergent areas of sociological research and theorization, the authors consider the environmental impacts of militaries from a comparative-international perspective. The article begins with an overview of treadmill of production and treadmill of destruction theories, the latter of which highlights the expansionary tendencies and concomitant environmental consequences of militarization. This theoretical overview is followed by a narrative assessment of military growth and energy consumption, with a particular focus on the US military over the past century. Next, the authors detail the various environmental impacts associated with the growth and structure of national militaries, briefly discuss potential future research directions, and conclude by calling for scholars in future studies on society/nature relationships to seriously consider the environmental and ecological impacts of the world's militaries.
Andrew K. Jorgenson, Brett Clark and Jennifer E. Givens
Mining, corporate social responsibility, and the “life market”
Jerry K. Jacka
Over the last 20 years, Papua New Guinea has been at the center of a resource development boom as mining, petroleum, and logging companies extract the rich resources of this tropical Pacific island. As 97 percent of the country is owned by customary groups who correspondingly receive benefits from extraction, resource development has the potential to integrate local communities into the global economy in beneficial ways. Often, though, this is not the case, as small factions of landowners control the bulk of development proceeds. In this article, I examine the development of a coffee growing scheme adjacent to the world-class Porgera Gold Mine, intended to help local people who are marginal to mining benefit streams. Tragically, however, instead of engaging in coffee production, many disenfranchised young men in Porgera prefer to work in the “life market”—a term they use to describe tribal warfare in which groups not receiving benefits attack benefit-receiving groups in the attempt to extort monetary payments. Not only are individuals' lives at stake in the life market, but so too are the economic conditions—coffee and gold mining—that allow the life market's very existence.
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.
Ring composition and conflict resolution
Ethnicity—once the preserve of anthropologists and folklorists studying disappearing tribal and peasant cultures—has become an important element in the models and explanations of a broader community of social scientists seeking to comprehend post-Cold War social disorder. But is ethnicity equivalent to variables such as resource competition or poverty? Ethnicity can be viewed as an epiphenomenon. The argument has major consequences for the way ethnic conflicts are analyzed and resolved. The article considers neo-Durkheimian conceptual tools for uncovering mechanisms generative of ethnic epiphenomena, and explores a neo-Durkheimian approach to conflict resolution. Specifically, Mary Douglas's ideas on ring composition are extended to include the ethnomusicological project of the Hungarian composer Béla Bartók, and then applied to epiphenomena emerging from the protracted civil conflict in the West African country of Sierra Leone.
Problems and Prospects
Irina N. Bilichenko
National Parks and Nature Reserves serve as key link in the formation of regional and nationwide ecological networks and play a crucial role in the conservation of biological and landscape diversity in Russia. Owing to conflicts over resource use, there is a range of problems in the functioning of the parks as exemplified in Tunka National Park, located near Lake Baikal. Fires, illegal logging and development, hunting and fishing without license, so-called wild tourism, and other types of violations are frequent in the park. The development of ecological tourism is an important prospect for the region.
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.
Three elements dominated scholarship on Israeli water politics and policymaking in the 1950s: (1) the state is often taken to be a fully established actor since its inception in 1948; (2) Israeli water policymaking was dominated by geopolitical and regional concerns over security and access to shared water resources; (3) water was, and continues to be, a scarce resource. This article argues that these elements result in the depoliticization of Israeli water policies and offers three counterarguments. First, the totality of any state is an ever-illusive construct. Second, Israeli water politics had an internal dimension that has to be investigated in its own right. Third, scarcity did not acquire the status of a "fact" until the mid-1950s. In fact, the struggle over the notions of water abundance and scarcity was an essential part of working through the political conflicts over the meaning of Jewish subjectivity, the boundaries of the state, and its right to intervene in civil society.
A Philosophical Analysis of New Peacekeeping
Lisa Portmess and Bassam Romaya
In June 2014 an Expert Panel on Technology and Innovation in UN Peacekeeping was commissioned to examine how technology and innovation could strengthen peacekeeping missions. The panel's report argues for wider deployment of advanced technologies, including greater use of ground and airborne sensors and other technical sources of data, advanced data analytics and information fusion to assist in data integration. This article explores the emerging intelligence-led, informationist conception of UN peacekeeping against the backdrop of increasingly complex peacekeeping mandates and precarious security conditions. New peacekeeping with its heightened commitment to information as a political resource and the endorsement of offensive military action within robust mandates reflects the multiple and conflicting trajectories generated by asymmetric conflicts, the responsibility to protect and a technology-driven information revolution. We argue that the idea of peacekeeping is being revised (and has been revised) by realities beyond peacekeeping itself that require rethinking the morality of peacekeeping in light of the emergence of 'digital peacekeeping' and the knowledge revolution engendered by new technologies.
“Votes count,” Stein Rokkan asserted many years ago, “but resources
decide.”1 Political finance is one of the many arenas in which Alexander
and Shiratori’s “conflict between real inequalities in economic
resources and idealized equalities in political resources” is fought out.2
Yet the battleground is more complex than either of these authorities
suggests. Votes are also a resource. They legitimate, and they can also
punish, if those who cast them think that economic resources are
being used unreasonably. Above all, the determination of electoral
outcomes involves players others than voters and moneyed
interests. In almost all modern democracies there are referees of
varying effectiveness. In general, the referee is “the state,” but much
depends on the organs through which the state operates. Governments
are not necessarily neutral agents; they and the parliaments
that legislate on the regulation of political finance may merely reflect
the interests of dominant or established parties. Political finance can,
however, also be regulated, as for instance in Germany or the United
States, by judicial review. In addition the media almost everywhere
play an unpredictable role as spectator, watchdog or interested participant.
The tropical rainforest houses a wealth of both ecological and cultural diversity, and the species richness, ecosystem services, genetic wealth, and repository of indigenous and local environmental knowledge stored in this endangered region represent a global commons at risk. As articulated by Donald Nonini in the introduction to this forum, ‘the commons’ refers to those assemblages and ensembles of resources that human beings hold in common or in trust on behalf of themselves, other living human beings, and past and future generations of human beings, and that are essential to their biological, cultural, and social reproduction. In the Amazon, many ecological resources lend themselves to being held in a commons because of practical reasons, such as the difficulty of dividing it into smaller pieces (e.g., due to resource unpredictability, mobility, or the loss of ecological functioning if broken into pieces), and/or the costliness of excluding potential users. But social reasons and values foster the communal management of resources as well: various commons exemplify shared identity, provide economic buffering, mitigate subsistence risk, foster cooperation and conflict resolution, and serve as a pillar in the edifice of societies supporting socialization and social reproduction.