Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Joel Wainwright and I recently wrote and published a Geoforum editorial about the urgent need to divest from Elsevier en the corporate publishing model:


The commercial scientific publishing model is broken. The basic problem is simple. We scholars give the products of our labour our research papers, reviews, and so forth — for free to for-profit corporations. These corporations then sell the same products of our labour back to us, via libraries. This arrangement might be acceptable if the publishing industry charged only modest fees or contributed some fundamental quality to the work. But they do neither. No matter how much they say they care about knowledge, their main priority is —  as with any for-profit corporation — maximizing returns for private investors. In pursuing this goal, they employ creative means to extract resources from the public purse to pay for exorbitant journal fees – funds that otherwise could be invested in public research and education. In the process, the publishing corporations intensify a perverse focus on impact factors, citation counts, ‘clickbait’ articles and academic branding, rather than genuine engagement. All this degrades the quality of academic work and serves to undermine the conditions in which many of us work.
Simply put, the publishing industry works against the interests of the scholarly community. And yet, as with other perverse political economies, we academics are deeply implicated in this unjust situation. Although many curse the status quo, we actively reproduce it through our collaboration— above all, by continuing to contribute the products of our labour freely. Despite widespread frustration, it has proven difficult even to get critical scholars to agree on a course of action that would challenge the model. Particularly frustrating is that untenured scholars are basically trapped in the system, forced to reproduce their own exploitation in order to survive in academia.


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If environmental conservation doesn’t face the current political movement by becoming much more radical there will soon be precious little biodiversity to conserve.

Robert Fletcher’s and my most recent blog post:



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New paper out in Oryx:


Half-Earth or Whole Earth? Radical ideas for conservation, and their implications


We question whether the increasingly popular, radical idea of turning half the Earth into a network of protected areas is either feasible or just. We argue that this Half-Earth plan would have widespread negative consequences for human populations and would not meet its conservation objectives. It offers no agenda for managing biodiversity within a human half of Earth. We call instead for alternative radical action that is both more effective and more equitable, focused directly on the main drivers of biodiversity loss by shifting the global economy from its current foundation in growth while simultaneously redressing inequality.



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Mijn nieuwe blog:


We leven in een tijd waarin het niet meer te ontkennen valt dat de economie grote negatieve gevolgen heeft voor biodiversiteit, ecosystemen, klimaat en natuurlijke hulpbronnen. Dringende actie is nodig om de impact terug te dringen en zo mogelijk positief te maken. Volgens velen kun je de kapitalistische groei-economie verenigen met natuurbehoud door natuur tot kapitaal te verheffen. Zo kan natuurbehoud uitgedrukt worden in termen die economen, beleidsmakers en CEO’s kunnen begrijpen. Volgens hoogleraar Bram Büscher is ‘natuurlijk kapitaal’ echter een gevaarlijke mythe die het zicht op de echte vragen versluiert.




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PhD Summerschool announcement: Political Ecologies of Conflict, Capitalism and Contestation (PE-3C) – 1-6 July, Wageningen

Prof. Bram Büscher

Prof. Elizabeth Lunstrum (York University, Canada)
Prof. Rosaleen Duffy (SOAS, University of London)
Prof. Bram Büscher (Wageningen University)
Dr. Robert Fletcher (Wageningen University)
Dr. Murat Arsel (Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University)
Dr. Clemens Driessen (Wageningen University)
Prof. Rutgerd Boelens (Wageningen University / University of Amsterdam)
Dr. Stasja Koot (Wageningen University)

1-6 July 2016

More information :


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Call for Papers:  New Trajectories in the Study of Development

Date:  Tuesday 24 May 2016

Place:  Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

Conveners:  Philip Fountain (Victoria University of Wellington) and Bram Büscher (Wageningen University)

Development and development studies are at a turning point. The characteristics of core development problematics around poverty, inequality, marginalization and environmental degradation that many interventions and studies have responded to and tried to understand continue to change rapidly. Old divides and boundaries between rich and poor, north and south and modern and traditional are being rethought and reconfigured under the influence of myriad technological, social, cultural, political economic and other dynamics. At the same time, development itself is changing rapidly. Under political economic pressures, development is increasingly narrowly defined in relation to growth, entrepreneurialism and capital accumulation. Development studies scholars have tried to make sense of these and related dynamics, but after the so-called ‘post-development turn’ there seems to be a hiatus in terms of trying to construct a more overarching critical assessment of where current new trajectories in development are coming from, where they are heading and how they can be made sense of together.

This workshop investigates these concerns from the locations of anthropology, political economy and history. Through a critical interrogation of the meanings, valences, origins, futurities and effects of major contemporary ‘development trajectories’, this workshop convenes a critical space for diverse investigations into the idea and practice of development as well as the fields of study which analyse it. We invite presentations from across the humanities and social sciences that investigate the following sorts of themes:

•        Assessments of the contemporary and historical state of development and development studies;

•        Investigations into the anthropology of development in the aftermath of post-development scholarship, including for example analyses of the ‘new ethnography of development’ and similar research programs;

•        Critical assessments of the changing political economy of development and the implications this has for those who study it;

•        The work carried out by the term ‘development’, its relation to competing terms such as ‘buen vivir’, and its potential substitution or replacement with other concepts or ideas;

•        Explorations into what ‘cousin’ fields to the anthropology of development – including, for example, the anthropology of humanitarianism, conservation, Christianity/religion, and materiality, as well work in neighbouring disciplines – might bring to an invigorated imagination and practice of research on development;

•        Analyses that move beyond teleology into a new imaginations of development’s past, present and future.

Reflecting the interdisciplinary concerns of the conference the event will be hosted by Religious Studies, Development Studies and Cultural Anthropology, Victoria University of Wellington.

The conference will involve a limited number of papers in order to create ample space for discussion and debate. Please send paper proposals to Philip Fountain (Philip.Fountain@vuw.ac.nz) and Bram Büscher (bram.buscher@wur.nl) by 15 March 2016. Proposals should include a title, abstract (150 words) and brief bio (100 words).

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We have another exciting vacancy in our group:

Vacancy, Wageningen University: Assistant/Associate Professor in Disaster and Crisis Studies (Tenure Track)

We are looking for:
The Sociology of Development and Change (SDC) chair group has a vacancy for an assistant or associate professor with demonstrated excellence in teaching and research in the area of crisis and disaster studies. This position contributes to the chair group by focusing on crises and disasters within the context of contemporary processes of development and social change. The chair group is characterized by its interdisciplinary character, its ethnographic and its critical approach to studying development and change in diverse settings. The candidate will contribute to and further a research agenda focusing on challenges related to natural and human-made hazards, crises, conflicts, and their effects against the background of broader political, economic, social, cultural and environmental change, including climate change and migration. As these developments will increasingly play out in highly populated areas, peri-urban and urban settings, they bring new conceptual and policy challenges that the SDC group is keen to study and address.

The position entails research, teaching and supervision of Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD students, acquisition and other service or management tasks. We expect the candidate to have an affinity with educational innovation and to be able to contribute to improving the disaster and crisis studies course portfolio.

We ask
The candidate must have:

  • a PhD degree in a relevant social science field (anthropology, sociology, geography, development studies, political science) with a focus on conflict or disaster studies,
    relevant fieldwork experience,
  • a strong international network and a promising (assistant professor) or excellent (associate professor) publication record,
  • an innovative and creative approach to opening up new avenues for research and the acquisition of funding.

Ideally, the candidate should also be able to connect the field of crisis and disaster studies to the fields of critical development studies and/or political ecology. In addition, we expect the candidate to have experience with interdisciplinary work and connective capacity in creating a team-building atmosphere. The candidate should have a passion for education, proven by a track record of academic teaching and supervision. Interpersonal skills and the ability to enthuse students and colleagues are also key assets. The candidate should be fluent in English. Foreign candidates are expected to learn Dutch.

We offer:
We offer a tenure track position as assistant or associate professor, depending on experience (for more information about the Tenure Track at Wageningen UR visit http://www.wageningenur.nl/tenuretrack). We are looking for high potentials who excel in education and research. The position is a temporary one, with a possibility for a permanent contract after 6 years. A part time position of 0.8 fte is negotiable.
Gross salary: from € 47436 per year (holiday allowance and end-of-year bonus included) , based on full time employment and dependent on expertise and experience.
Dienstverband: Temporary, Onbekend

Wageningen UR

We are
Sociology of Development and Change (SDC) focuses on the structures and practices of development and change with a particular scientific interest in inequality, marginalization and political agency. The group’s vision is to be a world-leading, politically engaged and interdisciplinary research and educational centre in development studies, political ecology, anthropology of law and crisis and disaster studies. Our mission is to gain and communicate a deeper understanding of inequality and marginalisation generated by global and local structures of power and political-economy and so contribute to social and environmental justice. At the same time we study how actors generate forms of agency and practices that enable them to deal with these dynamics and create new opportunities.
For more information visit the SDC Group webpage: http://www.wageningenur.nl/sdc.

Wageningen University and Research Centre
Wageningen University & Research centre aims to deliver a substantial contribution to the quality of life. That’s our focus – each and every day. Within our domain, healthy food and living environment, we search for answers to issues affecting society – such as sustainable food production, climate change and alternative energy. Of course, we don’t do this alone. Every day, 6,500 people work on ‘the quality of life’, turning ideas into reality, on a global scale. Could you be one of these people? We give you the space you need.

For further information about working at Wageningen UR, take a look at http://www.wageningenur.nl/career.

A more detailed profile can be obtained from Ms Marielle Takes (marielle.takes@wur.nl), and from http://www.wageningenur.nl/dis. Additional enquiries should be addressed to the chair of the SDC group, Prof. Dr Bram Büscher (bram.buscher@wur.nl).

To apply, please upload the following materials via the online ‘respond’ button (via: https://www.academictransfer.com/employer/WUR/vacancy/32113/lang/en/), before 1 March 2016:

  • Letter of motivation and CV
  • Names of two referees
  • One selected publication
  • Teaching evaluations
  • Statement on your research vision of the advertised position within the research themes of the chair group (500 words maximum)

You will receive an automatic e-mail confirmation within 24 hours. Interviews will be held around mid to late march 2016.

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