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Call for Papers for fully funded work/writeshop – May 2015, Aosta Valley, Italy

on

Nature 2.0: Social Media, Online Activism and the politics of Environmental Conservation

Organized by: Bram Büscher (ISS, Erasmus University, the Netherlands).

Date: 24-30 May 2015.

Place: Plan del la Tour, Aosta Valley, Italy (2 hours from Milan) – see http://www.plandelatour.it/index.html.

The idea: through this CfP, I would like to invite scholars working on the links between new media (web 2.0 and social media) and environmentalism or conservation to submit an abstract for a dedicated work/writeshop in (late) May 2015 in the Aosta Valley in Italy. The idea is to come together with a small group of scholars (max. 10-12) to present and discuss draft papers on this topic and have them ready for submission to a journal by the end of the week. The workshop will be held in a beautiful agriturismo (plan del la tour), with plenty of time and space for hikes, discussions, good dinners and creative leisure time.

Below you can find some more information on the topic and the broad array of potential contributions we are interested in. If you feel that your research fits this description, or that you can quite easily extend your current research to fit the topic, do consider submitting an abstract. From the abstracts, we will chose 4-6 participants to join 6 others already involved in the project in this exciting workshop. If your abstract is selected, your participation will be fully funded. Scholars from the global south are especially encouraged to submit abstracts.

Deadline for abstracts: We request paper abstracts by 1 February 2014. Please send a 250 word abstract, with title, contact information, and three keywords as an attachment to buscher AT iss DOT nl. If approved, full papers are due 1 May 2015.

More information: if you want more information, please do not hesitate to get in touch: buscher AT iss DOT nl.

The topic:
With much global biodiversity, ecosystems and natural landscapes in persistent rapid decline, conservation actors and concerned individuals and organisations are looking for novel ways to pursue conservation objectives. A major new frontier is the so-called ‘web 2.0’ and related social media. Web 2.0 applications like Wikipedia and YouTube and social media such as Facebook and Twitter allow people to create, rate and change online content and share these within cyberspace. These developments enable internet-users to now ‘co-create’ and co-produce the online activities, services, spaces and information they produce or consume, at least within the limits of possible action. Conservation actors are rapidly deploying new web 2.0 and social media techniques and facilities, allowing those who are concerned about global biodiversity and ecosystem decline to (seemingly) more directly engage with conservation activities in other parts of the world. The term ‘Nature 2.0’ aims to capture these dynamics and the natures to which they lead.

The workshop and the special issue that it wants to produce aim to produce a set of papers on the concept (and practices) of Nature 2.0 and the way it changes the global political economy of conservation in our neoliberal times. We invite papers that critically interrogate how social media, web 2.0 applications and new forms of online activism change the politics and material/cultural forms and practices of global conservation and how they affect people and biodiversity in different spatial and temporal contexts. Of special interest are papers that connect spaces of online conservation consumption (through activism, images, videos, fundraising, etc) with offline spaces of conservation production (protected areas, biodiversity hotspots, wildlife corridors, etc) in/from different parts of the globe.

In sum, the workshop and related special issue aim to address the following core questions:

–       How can we conceptualize Nature 2.0 as a new space of enacting/practicing/experiencing global conservation and what new (or familiar) political conservation geographies follow from this?
–       Does the concept of Nature 2.0 reflect an emerging political economy of global conservation and what roles do variously positioned conservation ‘producers’ and ‘consumers’ play in this?
–       In what ways do web 2.0 technologies constrain and/or broaden the field of possible practices and discourses of environmental conservation?
–       What are the epistemological and methodological challenges of conducting Nature 2.0 research?
–       How can we identify the relevant negative and productive aspects of power at work in the spaces/bodies/publics of and in relation to Nature 2.0?
–       How have social media and web 2.0 changed online conservation activism and the cyberpolitics of global biodiversity conservation?
–       What are some of the dominant Nature 2.0 on-line practices and how do they influence the work and activities of conservation producers and consumers?
–       How do online and offline conservation spaces affect and involve each other, and how does that influence global, national and local politics of conservation?
–       In which ways is Nature 2.0 characterized and influenced by broader changes in neoliberal capitalism, and which aspects of nature 2.0 are not sufficiently explained by these dynamics?
–       How can race, gender, sexuality, class, emotion, and other concepts inform our understanding of Nature 2.0?

For more content info, see also the following two papers, both of which can be downloaded from the publications page on this website:

Büscher, Bram and Jim Igoe (2013). ‘Prosuming’ Conservation? Web 2.0, Nature and the Intensification of Value-Producing Labour in Late Capitalism. Journal of Consumer Culture 13, 3: 283-305.

Büscher, Bram (2013). Nature 2.0. Geoforum 44, 1: 1-3.

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Development and Change Forum 2012 (with a Debate section on Nature™ Inc.) is out!

See: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/dech.2012.43.issue-1/issuetoc  or go to the publications page to download the introduction to the debate section.

 

Edited by Murat Arsel and Bram Büscher

 

Focus

Post-neoliberalism in Latin America: Rebuilding and Reclaiming the State after Crisis (pages 1–21)

Jean Grugel and Pía Riggirozzi

Fight or Acquiesce? Religion and Political Process in Turkey’s and Egypt’s Neoliberalizations (pages 23–51)

Cihan Tuğal

Debate: Nature™ Inc.

Nature™ Inc.: Changes and Continuities in Neoliberal Conservation and Market-based Environmental Policy (pages 53–78)

Murat Arsel and Bram Büscher

What’s Nature Got To Do With It? A Situated Historical Perspective on Socio-natural Commodities (pages 79–104)

Nancy Lee Peluso

The Contradictory Logic of Global Ecosystem Services Markets (pages 105–131)

Kathleen McAfee

Market Masquerades: Uncovering the Politics of Community-level Payments for Environmental Services in Cambodia (pages 133–158)

Sarah Milne and Bill Adams

‘TEEB Begins Now’: A Virtual Moment in the Production of Natural Capital (pages 159–184)

Kenneth Iain MacDonald and Catherine Corson

Biodiversity for Billionaires: Capitalism, Conservation and the Role of Philanthropy in Saving/Selling Nature (pages 185–203)

George Holmes

Consuming the Forest in an Environment of Crisis: Nature Tourism, Forest Conservation and Neoliberal Agriculture in South India (pages 205–227)

Daniel Münster and Ursula Münster

The Tragedy of the Commodity and the Farce of AquAdvantage Salmon® (pages 229–251)

Rebecca Clausen and Stefano B. Longo

Geoengineering: Re-making Climate for Profit or Humanitarian Intervention? (pages 253–270)

Holly Jean Buck

How do Investors Value Environmental Harm/Care? Private Equity Funds, Development Finance Institutions and the Partial Financialization of Nature-based Industries (pages 271–293)

Sarah Bracking

Using the Master’s Tools? Neoliberal Conservation and the Evasion of Inequality (pages 295–317)

Robert Fletcher

Legacy

Fred Halliday: Engagements, Languages, Myths and Solidarities (pages 319–339)

David Styan

Reflections

Joan Martinez-Alier (pages 341–359)

Lorenzo Pellegrini

Çağlar Keyder (pages 361–373)

Tuna Kuyucu

Assessments

Preempting Possibility: Critical Assessment of the IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2010 (pages 375–393)

Mazen Labban

Power Inequalities in Explaining the Link between Natural Hazards and Unnatural Disasters (pages 395–407)

Fikret Adaman

A Radically Conservative Vision? The Challenge of UNEP’s Towards a Green Economy (pages 409–422)

Dan Brockington

World Development Report 2012: Gender Equality and Development— A Commentary (pages 423–437)

Shahra Razavi

Poverty Alleviation and Smallholder Agriculture: The Rural Poverty Report 2011 (pages 439–448)

Jan Douwe van der Ploeg

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AT the ISS we have a vacancy for Postdoctoral researcher “Agrarian and Environmental Change” (1.0 FTE), for a period of 2.5 years (30 Months).

The Blurb: the successful candidate is expected to bring innovative research capacity to the ISS in the field of Agrarian and Environmental Studies, complementing and/or extending our work, among others, on environmental conservation, natural resource conflicts, and land grabs. The specific objective of the appointment is for a recently graduated (or soon to graduate) PhD to publish results from previous research, initiate new research, and contribute to the formulation and writing of research (grant) proposals (0.8 FTE), and to develop teaching experience that will enable her/him to make the transition from PhD researcher to an academic professional (0.2 FTE). Thematically, these activities will be focused on the broad areas of critical Agrarian and Environmental Studies, but the ideal candidate should have experience and be willing to conduct research in the specific areas of environmental conservation, political ecology and natural resource use and management from a critical political economy perspective.

For more information, please see the ISS website, or send me an email (buscher AT iss DOT nl)!

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I am currently doing an incredibly exciting trip across Zambia, Malawi and northern Mozambique, about which I will try to post something in the next couple of day. First I wanted to share another exciting piece of news, namely that my Veni grant application was approved by the Dutch national research council NWO. This means 3 years of dedicated research, starting 2012!

The full title of the project is: Nature 2.0: the political economy of conservation in online and Southern African environments

And the summary of the proposal goes as follows:
Web 2.0 and social media applications that allow people to share, form and rate online content are crucial new ways for conservation organizations to reach audiences and for concerned individuals and organisations to be (seen as) „green‟. Recent research indicates that these developments might significantly change the political economy of conservation: the production and consumption of conservation and their social effects. Two important changes relate to how online activities stimulate and complicate the commodification of biodiversity, ecosystems and landscapes and how they help to reimagine ideas and ideals about „pristine‟ nature. Above all, this „nature 2.0‟ now (seemingly) allows those concerned about global biodiversity and ecosystem decline to more directly engage with and influence the governance of socio-ecological realities in other parts of the world. The research aims to investigate these transformations in relation to biodiverse areas in Southern Africa, a region with a chequered history of western-imposed conservation. Three questions are central: How do online, web 2.0 and social media conservation activities relate to and influence the governance of biodiverse areas in Southern Africa and the people who live there? Why and how do these activities depend on the reimagination and commodification of nature? What are the implications of these dynamics for (theorizing) the global political economy of conservation?
Innovatively combining insights and methods from political ecology, anthropology and media studies, the research will engage these questions by studying how online activities relate to, shape and reflect other social, political and economic practices. It transcends conventional empirical research by connecting actors, actions and technologies involved in the production and consumption of conservation across space and time. In times of increasing tensions between biodiversity decline and demands for human development, the practical and theoretical implications of the study will be highly relevant for sustainable global and local natural resource governance.

Considering the topic, it will become even more important to regularly post research outcomes and progress online! 🙂

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For those interested in what is happening at Nature™ Inc in the Hague, I am blogging about the conference on the Broker website. Follow it all here:

Nature INC on the Broker

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