Tuesday, September 12, 2006


CALL FOR PAPERS: Community Natural Resource Management in Comparative Perspective, AAG 2007

Community natural resource management or CNRM has become a prominent approach to restructuring social relations, governance, and resource use practices in a wide variety of local and regional contexts around the world. For many, it has become a mainstay representing a way to navigate the extremes of laissez-faire exploitation on the one hand, and top-down, state-centred resource management on the other. Yet CNRM is not without its critics, many of whom see forms of devolution entirely consistent with neoliberalism, and others who see the transfer of significant power from states to local elites, promising little or no progressive social or environmental outcomes. Despite both widespread and official enthusiasm for CNRM oriented reforms, and the existence of a growing critical literature, there remains considerable room for critically informed, empirical analyses of specific CNRM projects and cases.

One of the pressing needs for research on CNRM is to address particularities in the design, implementation, representation and actual practices characterizing CNRM programs in different geographical and institutional settings at local, regional, national and international scales. One reason for this is simply that what might be generically referred to as CNRM encompasses a wide variety of projects and programs, from small-scale experiments in community scale forest management in British Columbia, Canada to post-Socialist restitutions of communal property regimes in Eastern and Central Europe, and from the resurgence of customary authority across Africa to the re-working of state-society relations in the context of political reforms in Indonesia and Mexico and the creation of co-management regimes in India.

This collection of papers is aimed at bringing into conversation critical, theoretically informed analyses of specific instantiations of CNRM that can attend to their specificities, and at the same time analyze and contextualize them in contributing to an understanding of how and why particular programs have been designed and implemented, how and why differences between programs matter, and how these particular programs articulate with the now familiar discursive tropes of CNRM. In this context, key questions include the ostensibly simple issue of exactly how the notion of "community" is translated and enacted in actual practice (i.e. who are the individual and group actors prominent in these programs and how do they relate to one another?). What specific sets of property rights and obligations attend the development of CNRM, and why? What are the implications of CNRM for governance, and for the development and reform of resource use practices? Also, what regional, national, and international political economic and discursive conditions explain the emergence and shaped the design of particular programs and projects. How is evidence about the social, economic, and ecological outcomes of CNRM being mobilized in support of or opposition to them?

We welcome contributions from a variety of disciplinary and geographical origins and from scholars interested in building an international, substantive, and critically informed basis of understanding and comparing cases of CNRM in action. Please convey expressions of interest, questions, and abstracts to one or both organizers.

Organizers: Scott Prudham, Department of Geography and Centre for Environment, University of Toronto (scott.prudham@utoronto.ca); Thomas Sikor, Junior Research Group on Postsocialist Land Relations, Humboldt University, Berlin (thomas.sikor@rz.hu-berlin.de)

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