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Course 0807 christos zografos

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  • 1. Deliberative ecological economics and political ecology Christos Zografos, PhD Postdoctoral Research Fellow ICTA, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain [email_address] Advanced course on the analysis of environmental conflicts & justice Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain Thursday 8 July 2008
  • 2. Want to…
    • … put forward different social science approaches to the study of power
    • Particularly: political theory and human geography
  • 3. Objective
    • Power is important: link to the ‘political’ of PE (Paulson et al., 2003):
      • Politics: practices and processes through which power circulates
    • Stimulate reflection: which (if any) approach or blend could be useful to your research
      • Q+ A session (end of class)
    • If you go for one: class could help understand
      • Where do you stand (literature) + to what body of literature (theoretical approach) you contribute
  • 4. Motivation
    • Question (Martinez-Alier, 2002): Who has the power to decide the rules of environmental decision-making?
      • “ Basic issue for ecological economics and political ecology”
    • A lot of talk about power, but: what do we really mean by “power”?
      • What is power and how does it work?
      • I’m also trying to make sense of literature (approaches to power and its study)…
  • 5. Outline
    • Deliberative ecological economics
      • Draw links to political ecology: study of power
    • Approaches: how does power operate?
      • Word of caution: some examples outside ‘environmental’ domain
    • Link back these approaches to PE’s take on power + politics (Paulson et al., 2003)
  • 6. Deliberative ecological economics
    • DEE: provides means to operationalise deliberative decision-making (DDM) in environmental decisions
      • What is DDM and why is it a good thing (desirable)?
    • DDM : decide after debate +reflection in the absence of power +coercion with objective to reach preference shifts
      • Via deliberative forums (Fife forum to discuss CC adaptation priorities for area)
    • DDM desirable because: inclusive of multiple voices in environmental decision-making
  • 7. However …
    • Power infringes upon deliberation
    • Formal and informal aspects of power prevent fulfilment of public participation
      • relations of power are not simply put to one side on entering the deliberative forum, delivering some sort of neutrality, but are actually brought into and shape the process of deliberation
    • More basic questions regarding the distribution of political power ( inside and outside deliberative fora) need be addressed
  • 8. Moreover…
    • Methods simplifying complexity more popular with policy-makers
      • E.g. environmental cost-benefit analysis (CBA)
    • What is CBA? What it does and how? Any issues with this?
    • Notorious for excluding some languages of valuation (Martinez-Alier, 2000)
      • The economic valuation of environmental benefits and damages is only one of the possible languages of valuation that are relevant in decision-making
      • Other languages of valuation include: religious ones (sanctity of the forest), cultural ones (the value of Acropolis, Camp Nou), etc.
      • These cannot always be monetised -> excluded from CBA
  • 9. Trump’s golf course
    • TEXT 1: ‘Trump’s golf course’
    • Q1: what is the result of this conflict?
    • A1: Trump gets his way no matter what environmentalists want
    • Power (Max Weber): the chance of a man to realise own will even against will of others
  • 10. Costs and benefits
    • Q2: How is decision justified as best one to take?
    • A2: First Minister Alex Salmond: "the economic and social benefits for the north-east of Scotland substantially outweigh any environmental impact, and … this is demonstrated in the evaluation of the three reporters to the public local inquiry“
    • CBA logic provides means for golf course supporters to impose their will (build golf course) upon those who oppose it
      • CBA seen as an instrument/ mechanism of power (see Weber)
  • 11. Martinez-Alier, 2002
    • “ Power […] appears at two different levels:
      • first, as the ability to impose a decision on others, for instance to steal resources, to locate an environmentally damaging plant, to destroy a forest, or to occupy environmental space and dispose of residues. Externalities are understood as cost-shifting
      • Second, as the procedural power which, in the face of complexity, is able to impose a language of valuation determining which is the bottom-line in an ecological distribution conflict
  • 12. “ Who has the power to …?”
    • “ Who has the power to decide the procedure for such integrated analysis? Who has the power to simplify complexity, ruling out some languages of valuation ?
      • E.g. CBA appropriate language of valuation
    • This is one basic issue for ecological economics and for political ecology”
    • (Martinez-Alier, 2002)
  • 13. Dahl (1961)
    • Back to Trump
    • Q3 : How do we observe the operation of power?
    • A3: As capacity to produce decision favourable to Trump
      • Power = decision-making capacity
    • Dahl: possession of power can be identified with confidence only during/ in cases of overt conflict
      • Those who prevail/ win conflict: have more power
    • But is it true that power can only be observed in cases of open conflict+ after decisions made?
  • 14. The second face of power
    • “ Come join us … in protest against the G8/G20 Summits where so-called leaders’ and bankers of the twenty richest countries are meeting in Huntsville and Toronto June 25-27 2010. At the Summits they will be discussing the themes of the global economy, development and climate change in a closed door, unaccountable meeting. Let’s send a loud message to the G8 Elite that we reject their deplorable agenda to further economic and social agendas that promote exploitation, profit, environmental degradation and colonization of the worlds resources!”
    • http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca
  • 15. The private face of power
    • Q4: Who has the power? Where is power to be observed?
    • A4: Those elites who control the agenda
      • Mills: power is at hands of elites that set the agenda excluding some issues from debate/ as options, etc.
    • A4: In/ during agenda-setting
      • Power as agenda setting shows that there is covert power (not always observable in decision-making: what is behind decision?)
      • Private face of power: excludes some interests from consideration in arenas (e.g. in legislative assemblies, chambers of commerce, etc.) where decisions taken
  • 16. Debates in 60-70s US academia: community power (Hindess, 1996)
    • Elitists: power:
      • concentrated in hands of elites (most influential business, government, military figures) who control (Mills, 1959)
      • distribution: nothing to do with notions of democracy Americans “have been taught to revere” (Hunter, 1953)
      • Exercise of power: irresponsible
    • Pluralists: power:
      • Distribution: unequal, but not concentrated in elites
      • Cannot say that exercise of power is irresponsible
      • USA: “republic of unequal citizens – but for all that a republic” (Dahl, 1961)
      • USA: no political equity but people rule
  • 17. Golf elites
    • Q5: back again (!) to Trump: if we see decision as elite decision: what kind of an elite decides?
    • A5: An economic elite
    • Marx: power is the organised capacity of one class for oppressing the other
      • ruling ideas are the ideas of the ruling class
      • power resides in control of means of production = basis of power is economic
    • The base and the superstructure:
      • economic (i.e. ‘base’) power (control of means of production) determines political, cultural, etc. power
      • Political power (e.g. capacity to ‘set the agenda’) is the consequence of economic power (base)
  • 18. Gramsci: cultural hegemony
    • Mac in Arabic = MacDonalds capitalism dominates (“hegemonises”) Arab world via cultural imperialism (eating habits)
    • Explains domination: how ruling class convinces subordinated ones to accept and adopt values of ruling class without direct intervention
    • Shows how a social class exercises cultural dominance on other classes with objective to maintain socio-political status quo
  • 19. Hegemony
    • Gramsci focus: largely Marxist, i.e. economically-deterministic
      • cultural hegemony reflects/ facilitates economic hegemony of dominant classes
      • predominance to economic structure seeing culture (what happens in ‘the cultural’ sphere) as a result of who holds economic power, i.e. what happens in terms of class relations
    • Weber: “this not necessary so”
  • 20. Power: economic source?
    • TEXT 2: ‘Corruption charges in Chinese EPM’
    • Q6 : What is the source of power that permits getting rich, in this example?
    • A6: The position of political authority
    • Source of power can be political and not necessary economic
      • Plus: economic power can be a result of political power (e.g. USSR)
    • Economic determinism (source of power always is to be found in economic sphere): limited
  • 21. Word of caution: on criticising Marx
    • “ Marx himself did not fall into the error of thinking that men’s ideas were merely a pale reflection of their economic needs , with no history of their own ; but some of his successors, including many who would not call themselves Marxists, have been far more economic determinist than Marx” (Hill, 1965)
    • Still, source of power for Marx (and –ists) is the control of means of production (materialism)
  • 22. Lukes: the 3-D of power
    • Pluralist view: the first face of power (prima facie)
      • Power manifests itself in decision-making: liberal view of power – power unequal but not concentrated
    • Elitist view: the second face of power (covert)
      • Power also manifests itself in less obvious forms: reformist view of power: the private face of power
    • ‘ Radical’ view (Lukes, 1974) of power: power can be even more insidious and hidden…
  • 23. Lukes: the 3-D of power
    • Victims of power some times fail to recognise that their interests are at risk-> make no action to defend them
    • Power: capacity to influence wishes + needs -> make people want and pursue things not benefitting or even damaging them!
    • Q5: Can you think of e.g. of this type of power?
    • A5: Fast food society?
  • 24. Power as constitutive
    • TEXT 3: ‘The Indian city’
    • Q6: How is the Indian city presented?
    • Q6: What is its main (negative) trait?
    • A5: Unhygienic
  • 25. Implications
    • Q7: What are the implications of knowing that the city is unhygienic? What do Europeans do?
    • A7: practices of landscape re-ordering:
      • build European quarters outside (far); order the city; re-build it
    • Landscape reflects “strategies of power … to discipline, control, …” (ibid, pg.56)
  • 26. Power: formative
    • Power can be located “in the way people, resources, and places are constituted ” (Paulson et al., 2003, pg. 209)
      • Source of power: constitution of places, resources, and people (e.g. the Indian city is unhygienic)…
      • … that leads to -> material practices (e.g. rebuild city) that shape landscape.
      • As a result, the landscape reflects strategies of power that aim to discipline and control, and …
      • … one could literally read these strategies of power on the landscape.
    • Q8: Examples from field visit?
  • 27. Foucault
    • Individual = construct of power
    • The History of Madness (2006 [1961])
      • Mad individuals (European history): excluded from society (taking place of lepers)
    • Evidence of exclusions: a timeline
      • 15 th cent.: the “ship of fools” literature expression of practice of sending mad people away on ships
      • 17 th cent.: ‘the Great Confinement’ -> ‘unreasonable’ members of society institutionalised
  • 28. Constitution of madness
    • Constituting mad individuals-> exclusion
      • 18th cent.: madness: constructed as the opposite of reason
      • 19th cent.: scientific +humanitarian treatments of madness = mental illness
    • Result: confine madness and treat it
      • humanitarian conceptualisations of madness (mental illness): excluding, controlling, and brutal (e.g. straightjacket, freezing showers) = as pre-scientific methods (tagged as ‘brutal’ by scientists, humanitarians, etc.)
    • madness silenced by Reason, hence lost its power to point to the truth
      • an auld saying in GR!
  • 29. Conclusions and implications
    • Based on scientific knowledge, the constitution of ‘mad’ as mentally-ill facilitates the application of power -> with view to control and exclusion
    • The individual is the construct of power: she/he does not exist beyond what power shapes it to be
      • Extreme constructivism?
  • 30. Implications for study of power
    • If power is formative/ constitutive
      • Arena of power struggles: the formulation of imaginaries
    • E.g.: define what is a legitimate/ acceptable part of an Indian city landscape?
      • Both via discourses about it and via practices (e.g. illegal construction of poor urban neighbourhoods)
  • 31. Implications for study of power
    • Paulson et al. (2003):
    • Knowledges are constructed by many actors
      • local men+ women, scientists, regulators, politicians
    • Ask how and why particular forms of knowledge predominate and circulate in ways that affect biophysical + social outcomes
  • 32. Importance
    • The importance: non-dominant , sidelined knowledges not only may challenge power, but also reveal the limits of power
      • E.g.: captivity in British empire reveals limits, weaknesses of the empire (Colley, 2002)
      • Identified through study of the experience (of captivity)
  • 33. Criticisms of post-structuralism
    • Marxism: acts of resistance have material basis habitually ignored by postructuralist explanations
      • Building/ existence of poor neighbourhoods in Indian cities should not be celebrated as an ‘act of resistance’ but interpreted as the result of dispossession of means and resources: class-based experience
      • Poor neighbourhoods: interpret within framework of social metabolism of K-ism
    • Question: is the Indian favela to be read as:
      • The backwaters of int’l capitalism?
      • An image (proof) of the unfinished project of capitalism?
      • Both? Is this possible?
  • 34. Summarising
    • Answering question: “who has the power to … ?” A: Those who manage to control…
    Decision-making Agenda Thoughts Constitution of places Economic sphere Political sphere
      • Where is power located ?
      • Where and what is the source of power?
  • 35. Paulson et al., 2003
    • Power “a social relation built on the asymmetrical distribution of resources and risks”
    • Locate power in:
      • the interactions among people, places, and resources: how does it circulate among them?
        • E.g. study decisions; decision-making processes; agendas; metabolism, etc.
      • the processes that constitute people, places, and resources
        • E.g. study how places are constituted and how constitution is contested
  • 36. Politics (Paulson et al., 2003)
    • Politics: practices and processes through which power – in its multiple forms – circulates, is wielded and negotiated
    • PE focuses on politics related to social relations of production and decision making about resource use

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