Kojo Amanor - Rethinking development in a world of complex sustainability challenges


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Presentation at the STEPS Conference 2010 - Pathways to Sustainability: Agendas for a new politics of environment, development and social justice


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Kojo Amanor - Rethinking development in a world of complex sustainability challenges

  1. 1. Pathways to Sustainability: Agendas for a New Politics of Environment, Developmentand Social Justice23 & 24 September 2010<br />Institute of Development Studies, Sussex University<br />Rethinking Development in a World of Complex Sustainability Challenges<br />Perspectives<br />Kojo Amanor<br />
  2. 2. Instrumental social group (theory) approach<br />vrs<br />Individual-centric contemplative reflexive approach<br />1. Individual is socially constructed and personhood is a socialised construct<br />
  3. 3. Is not the theory of the<br />contemplative reflexive<br />individual instrumental in displacing political ecology, political economy, common property theory, anthropology etc? <br />All theory is instrumental<br />
  4. 4. 2. To move from a social framework to an individualistic “more humanistic” is to surrender social analysis to neoliberal economic theories<br />Ben Fine:<br /> “Economics is trying to colonise the other social sciences and is succeeding, albeit with mixed results, to an unprecedented extent. In part, this reflects developments within economics whereby it perceives itself as being capable of addressing the social despite its dependence upon methodological individualism. In addition, the other social sciences are retracting from the extremes of postmodernism and not surprisingly, in the return to the real, they are seeking to incorporate an economic content… But what [economics] has to offer it totally unacceptable to those rejecting rational choice theory, unless it is veiled in the analytic vernacular of its hosts. Consequently, it is essential that the other social sciences remain deeply suspicious and critical of the analytic gifts being proffered by economics, despite what are often attractive appearances to the contrary. There is no shortcut to the (re)incorporation of the economic which depends upon a full and proper account of the political economy of contemporary capitalism” Social Capital versus Social Theory, p.15<br />
  5. 5. Community in NRM<br />Emphasis on community, empowerment, participation, and validation of community as social capital, tends towards a functionalist vessel for creating more efficient development administration and for accumulation of capital.<br />In natural resource administration various community arrangements are studied for their efficacy in policing the use of natural resources and apprehending freeriders. <br />While community is treated as part of fabric of society in many developing countries, communities (as localities) are often of recent origin, and what defines these units politically are the allocation of administrative functions to particular figureheads and the external political recognition of community. <br />
  6. 6. WSSD<br />Global environmental crisis requiring global solutions<br />Science and technology as the solution<br />Market as the solution<br />Community participation and education as solution<br />Small scale producers and poor the problem through inappropriate technology<br />Solution in changing peoples habits though community actions to bring about a process of conforming with the dictates of global environmental management and the global economy<br />A large role for civil society as long as it towed the dominant line. A focus on “indigenous” organisation as knowledge rather than local aspirations<br />
  7. 7. Forestry in Ghana<br />1993 a framework for collaborative forest development which resulted in the enactment of 1994 Forest Policy <br />Policy enacted to promote more equitable off-reserve management of timber and promote sustainable management of forests following expansion of logging under structural adjustment <br />An ulterior motive of converting farm timber from a resource used in the local economy to international timber under a concession system<br />
  8. 8. Participatory Forest management in Ghana<br />Community and civil society defined in terms of networks of chiefs and customary custodians with rights over natural resources. These groups already received royalties and could only gain economic interests by expropriating resources to migrants and concessionaires since local farmers had user rights.<br />With the support of civil society (the chiefs and NGOs) organised into forestry forums the Forestry Commission was effectively able to introduce a new participatory forest code which transferred management of off-reserve forest resources from district councils to Forestry Departments and secured the resource for concessionaires and international trade<br />This has resulted in the liquidation of on farm timber <br />
  9. 9. Strengths and weaknesses in social research on natural resources<br />✓Critique of science and technology <br />✓deconstructing narratives<br />✓Power relations in communities and deconstructing community<br />✕Political economy relations between market, differentiated producers and the construction of civil society within contemporary capitalism<br />