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Human Rights Beyond Humanitarianism: The Radical Challenge to the Right to Asylum in the Mediterranean Zone

Wed, 07/05/2017 - 12:15
Abstract

This article argues for a new centrality of the right to asylum within the Mediterranean zone and the necessity to defend and implement this right beyond the “humanitarian regime”. The first section describes the ways in which humanitarianism's logic has weakened the right to asylum through the implementation of specific EU migration policies since 2013. The second section focuses on the distinction between such a humanitarian regime and the human rights system, assessing the possibility of and necessity for a renewed defense of human rights, starting with the right to asylum. The third section focuses on the Charter of Lampedusa, a radical, alternative normative instrument developed through a grassroots process which involved activists and migrant rights groups and which represents a concrete illustration of how the horizon of human rights might be redefined.

Dispossession and the Depletion of Social Reproduction

Wed, 07/05/2017 - 12:15
Abstract

Gender is largely under-theorized in the now well-developed literature on dispossession; this paper contributes to the analysis of the gender dimensions of dispossession by bringing the literature on dispossession into conversation with the feminist literature on social reproduction, specifically, depletion of social reproduction. Drawing on qualitative field research, the paper provides a gendered analysis of the multiple vectors of dispossession affecting the Miyana, a Muslim community living in the Little Rann of Kutch, an estuarine zone in central Gujarat within which prawn harvesting and salt production are their symbiotic seasonal livelihood activities. Using the concept of depletion as a diagnostic tool, I argue that the assessment of depletion due to dispossession requires investigation of the levels of mitigation, replenishment or transformation available to individuals, households and communities within the circuits of production and social reproduction.

Hijacking the Narrative: The First World Forum on Natural Capital, #natcap13, and Radical Dissent

Wed, 07/05/2017 - 10:00
Abstract

The first World Forum on Natural Capital (WFNC) was an important moment in the production of “valued” nature. It brought together bankers, CEOs, and business elites to promote financialized environmental accounting as a solution to ecosystem degradation. Anti-capitalist activists, however, opposed the further intrusion of economic logic to environmental decision-making and resisted its progression. While WFNC organizers were able to advance the concept of “natural capital” through traditional (print and web 1.0) media, they struggled to control the social media narrative. Digital activists were able to challenge the official narrative on Twitter and compel organizers to address the associated social and environmental justice concerns. As such, social media produced the conditions for both abstracting nature into value-bearing commodities and, simultaneously, resisting such abstraction. Drawing on theories of counterpublic organization, public spheres of deliberation, and agonistic confrontation, this paper explores the discursive co-production of nature in a new digitally mediated world.

Distinction and the Ethics of Violence: On the Legal Construction of Liminal Subjects and Spaces

Sat, 07/01/2017 - 08:45
Abstract

This paper interrogates the relationship among visibility, distinction, international humanitarian law and ethics in contemporary theatres of violence. After introducing the notions of “civilianization of armed conflict” and “battlespaces”, we briefly discuss the evisceration of one of international humanitarian law's axiomatic figures: the civilian. We show how liberal militaries have created an apparatus of distinction that expands that which is perceptible by subjecting big data to algorithmic analysis, combining the traditional humanist lens with a post-humanist one. The apparatus functions before, during, and after the fray not only as an operational technology that directs the fighting or as a discursive mechanism responsible for producing the legal and ethical interpretation of hostilities, but also as a force that produces liminal subjects. Focusing on two legal figures—“enemies killed in action” and “human shields”—we show how the apparatus helps justify killing civilians and targeting civilian spaces during war.

Amplifying Environmental Politics: Ocean Noise

Wed, 06/28/2017 - 14:21
Abstract

Scientific evidence suggests that rising levels of anthropogenic underwater sound (“ocean noise”) produced by industrial activities are causing a range of injuries to marine animals—in particular, whales. These developments have forced states and development proponents into acknowledging ocean noise as a threat to marine economic activity. This paper delivers a Gramsci-inspired critique of the modernizations of ocean noise regulation being wrought by science, state and politics. Gramsci was acutely interested in the dynamic and social nature of scientific research, and his writings affirm science's powers and ambitions. At the same time, he was keen to observe how science participates in the process he called hegemony. Using examples drawn from Canada's West Coast, I suggest that capital is engaging ocean noise not only as a regulatory problem issuing from legal duties and legitimacy concerns, but opportunities linked to the commercialization of ocean science.

The Urban Majority and Provisional Recompositions in Yangon

Wed, 06/14/2017 - 14:15
Abstract

Yangon is a city where the now predominant modalities of urban transformation arrived late, and after a prolonged period of political repression. As the urban system has been “set loose” to articulate itself to a broader range of inputs and dispositions, many residents attempt to remake long-honed yet fragile mechanisms of social interchange in provisional forms. This ethos and practice of provisionality emphasizes ensemble work aimed at recomposing the character of local district life in various locations across Yangon. Most importantly, it raises questions of how an urban majority—as a confluence of heterogeneous ways of life that has long been critical to making viable urban lives in the postcolony—have endured and can continue to endure in changing circumstances. The article draws from critical black thought as a means of generating heuristic concepts to explore the ways in which residents of several Yangon districts make productive use of the simultaneity of seemingly contradictory inclinations.

The Student's Two Bodies: Civic Engagement and Political Becoming in the Post-Socialist Space

Wed, 06/14/2017 - 13:55
Abstract

Student activism in Montenegro has remained largely unaccounted for in the growing body of literature on civic engagement and popular politics in the post-Yugoslav space. When students took their discontent to the streets of the Montenegrin capital in November 2011, the dual nature of the student body was rendered visible and audible: while the official student organizations framed their activity as an apolitical expression of discontent over studying conditions, several independent student associations positioned themselves as an extra-parliamentary opposition to the ruling establishment and called for the creation of a wide anti-austerity/anti-corruption coalition. Drawing from critical theory, political sociology, and human geography, this article addresses the questions of why, how, when, and where a part of the student body became political. I argue that a social context that lacks a tradition of politically engaged student movements provides opportunities for a nuanced understanding of political becoming of a hitherto apolitical social group.

Potemkin Revolution: Utopian Jungle Cities of 21st Century Socialism

Tue, 06/13/2017 - 10:10
Abstract

This paper explores the entanglement of ideology and materiality in the production of the spaces of 21st century socialism. “Millennium Cities” are currently being constructed for indigenous communities throughout the Ecuadorian Amazon, with revenues derived from petroleum extracted within their territories. As iconic spatial symbols of the “Citizens’ Revolution”, the Millennium Cities would appear to embody “the original accumulation of 21st century socialism”—a utopian state ideology promising the collective appropriation of natural resources without the dispossession of the peasantry. Drawing on extensive field research, we argue that they are better understood as a simulation of urban modernity that is symptomatic of the predominance of ground rent in South American capitalism, and which conceals the violent repression of an autonomous indigenous project of petroleum-based modernization. The original accumulation of 21st century socialism can therefore be interpreted as a “fantasy of origins”, which functions to reproduce the primitive accumulation of capital.

Resumen

Este artículo explora la relación entre ideología y materialidad en la producción de los espacios del socialismo del siglo veintiuno. Las “Ciudades del Milenio” están siendo construidas para las comunidades indígenas a lo largo de la Amazonía ecuatoriana, con las regalías procedentes del petróleo extraído en sus territorios. Como símbolos espaciales icónicos de la “Revolución Ciudadana”, las Ciudades del Milenio encarnan “la acumulación originaria del socialismo del siglo veintiuno”–una ideología utópica del estado que promete la apropiación colectiva de los recursos naturales sin la desposesión del campesinado. Mediante un extenso trabajo de campo, argumentamos que son entendidas mejor como una simulación de modernidad urbana, que es sintomática de la predominancia de la renta de la tierra en el capitalismo de Sudamérica, y que oculta la violenta represión de un proyecto indígena autónomo de modernización basada en el petróleo. Por ello, la acumulación originaria del socialismo del siglo veintiuno puede ser interpretada como una “fantasía de orígenes”, que funciona para reproducir la acumulación primitiva de capital.

Political Ecologies of Global Health: Pesticide Exposure in Southwestern Ecuador's Banana Industry

Tue, 06/13/2017 - 09:35
Abstract

Pesticide exposure in Ecuador's banana industry reflects political economic and ecological processes that interact across scales to affect human health. We use this case study to illustrate opportunities for applying political ecology of health scholarship in the burgeoning field of global health. Drawing on an historical literature review and ethnographic data collected in Ecuador's El Oro province, we present three main areas where a political ecological approach can enrich global health scholarship: perceptive characterization of multi-scalar and ecologically entangled pathways to health outcomes; critical analysis of discursive dynamics such as competing scalar narratives; and appreciation of the environment-linked subjectivities and emotions of people experiencing globalized health impacts. Rapprochement between these fields may also provide political ecologists with access to valuable empirical data on health outcomes, venues for engaged scholarship, and opportunities to synthesize numerous insightful case studies and discern broader patterns.

Resumen

La exposición a agroquímicos en la industria bananera del Ecuador evidencia procesos de ecología y economía política interactuando en diferentes escalas y que terminan afectando a la salud humana. Este estudio de caso ilustra como la ecología política de la salud puede aportar al creciente campo de la salud global. A partir de una revisión histórica de literatura y de datos etnográficos recopilados en la provincia de El Oro, Ecuador, presentamos tres áreas principales donde la perspectiva de ecología política puede enriquecer el campo de la salud global: caracterización perspicaz de trayectorias multi-escalares y ecológicamente relacionadas que afectan a la salud; valoración crítica de dinámicas discursivas tales como las narrativas escalares contrapuestas; y apreciación de subjetividades y emociones relacionadas con el ambiente entre personas que viven impactos de salud global. El acercamiento entre estos dos campos también puede proporcionar a los ecólogos políticos acceso a valiosos datos empíricos sobre salud, espacios para la praxis y oportunidades para sintetizar numerosos estudios de casos perspicaces para discernir patrones más amplios.

Intergenerational Inequality? Labour, Capital, and Housing Through the Ages

Pon., 06/12/2017 - 10:55
Abstract

This article examines the relevance of generational relations to emerging patterns of inequality in advanced capitalist societies, with a particular focus on inequalities related to housing wealth. At its heart is a critique of the increasingly prevalent argument that generational difference is a crucial axis of inequality today. It argues that while contemporary capitalist societies are certainly characterized by marked inequalities between generations and that the latter are manifested inter alia in housing ownership, understanding such inequalities principally in generational terms is problematic because they reflect deeper, more fundamental, structural inequalities and should therefore be conceptualized as such. The article suggests that the principal significance of generational relations to contemporary inequality dynamics actually concerns economic transfers rather than differences between generations. Within-family transfers of wealth, especially housing-related wealth, from older generations to younger ones tend to reproduce pronounced, structurally generated existing patterns of intra-generational inequality.

World Making, Critical Pedagogies, and the Geographical Imagination: Where Youth Work Meets Participatory Research

Sat, 06/10/2017 - 09:30
Abstract

Renewed interest in the critical geographies of education has raised productive yet under-examined synergies with reflections taking place among radical youth work and participatory research practitioners. In particular, such intersections point to important ways that the geographical imagination might advance a critical yet creative means of learning through the living material forces of everyday worlds. This paper examines this common ground through a collaborative, London-based case study exploring young people's sense of home and belonging in the inner-city. It argues that cross-overs between the praxis of participatory research and youth work offer generative potential to act alongside young people in the production of autonomous geographical knowledges. Specifically, the case is made for prioritising an imaginative, experiential and intersubjective pedagogical process of “world making”, as an alternative to practices that intervene in, act upon and ultimately “other” the everyday lives of young people.

Delocalization, Humanitarianism, and Human Rights: The Mediterranean Border Between Exclusion and Inclusion

Sat, 06/10/2017 - 09:30
Abstract

By reflecting on both the exclusionary and the inclusionary role of humanitarian migration and border management in the Central Mediterranean, this paper explores the relationship of humanitarianism with the delocalization of the EU border and with human rights. First, the paper analyses the role of human rights in the institutional humanitarian discourse about migration and border management at the Mediterranean EU border. The paper then analyses the Italian operation Mare Nostrum and, more generally, Italian humanitarianized border management in the Central Mediterranean. In doing this, it shows that humanitarianism contributes to the discursive legitimation and spatial delocalization of exclusionary policies and practices. Moreover, humanitarianism contributes to a symbolically and legally subordinate inclusion of migrants in the European space. While such humanitarian inclusion can be more inclusive than what human rights would require, it is posited as an act of grace rather than an enhancement of human rights. In both its exclusionary and inclusionary dimension, humanitarianism transcends and expands territorial boundaries by outsourcing responsibilities and enhancing delocalized border management.

Building More Inclusive Solidarities for Socio-Environmental Change: Lessons in Resistance from Southern Appalachia

Thu, 06/01/2017 - 08:10
Abstract

It is increasingly recognized that socio-environmental justice will not be achieved through liberal and cosmopolitical forms of activism alone. Instead, more diverse and inclusive solidarities must be achieved across political ideologies for transformative change. By engaging with one constituency often overlooked by mainstream environmentalists—rural, conservative Americans—we argue for a situated solidarity that can be forged among people whose views of nature, community, and politics differ significantly. This framework rejects totalizing expressions of global ambition that erase important place-based differences. To explore this ethic, we examine a localized anti-fracking campaign in western North Carolina to determine how place-based forms of environmental resistance can be brought in closer connection with the cosmopolitical movement for climate and energy justice. This requires that cosmopolitical movements make room for more customary forms of cultural politics, while conservative movements look beyond their own place-based struggles to resist mutually experienced forms of oppression.

Resumen

Es cada día más evidente que la justicia socioambiental no se logrará exclusivamente a través de formas de movilización liberales y cosmopolíticas. De lo contrario, el cambio transformativo requiere de solidaridades diversas e inclusivas que trascienden las ideologías políticas. Basado en nuestra colaboración-investigación con una población sobrepasado por ambientalistas convencionales—estadounidenses rurales y conservadores—proponemos una “solidaridad localizada” que se puede forjar entre poblaciones con distintos conceptos de naturaleza, comunidad, y política. Este marco rechaza a las expresiones universalizadores que borran de las idiosincrasias producidas por arraigarse en un lugar. Para explorar dicha ética de solidaridad, investigamos una campaña contra el fracking (la fracturación hidráulica) en el oeste de Carolina del Norte, para así determinar como las formas localizadas de resistencia ambiental se pueden acercar a los movimientos cosmopolíticos para la justicia climática y de energía. Concluimos que este acercamiento require que los movimientos cosmopolíticos se abren a distintos costumbres y culturas políticas, mientras que los movimientos conservadores miran más allá de sus luchas locales para resistir opresiones comunes.

A Hostile Takeover of Nature? Placing Value in Conservation Finance

Thu, 06/01/2017 - 08:10
Abstract

Conservation finance is a nascent field that claims to “deliver maximum conservation impacts, while, at the same time, generating returns for investors” (Credit Suisse/WWF). While geographers have questioned the ability of conservation finance to play a significant role in international biodiversity conservation, an emerging cohort of boutique private equity firms are actively generating returns on North American conservation projects. This raises the question: how are these firms generating profits, and in turn, returns for their shareholders? Drawing from a Marxian understanding of finance as redistributive, I argue that these firms are generating profits through a process similar to a corporate hostile takeover. Using the examples of ranchland and timberland investment in the United States, I show that (1) the materialities and historical geographies of these landscapes play a crucial role their monetization, and (2) shareholder returns are generated through a combination of traditional real estate sales and revaluations, public monies, and commodity production.

“Where every breeze speaks of courage and liberty”: Offshore Humanism and Marine Xenology, or, Racism and the Problem of Critique at Sea Level

Wed, 05/31/2017 - 04:45
Abstract

The 2015 Antipode RGS-IBG Lecture was delivered by Prof. Paul Gilroy on 2 September at the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) Annual International Conference. Prof. Gilroy's lecture interrogates the contemporary attractions of post-humanism and asks questions about what a “reparative humanism” might alternatively entail. He uses a brief engagement with the conference theme—“geographies of the Anthropocene”—to frame his remarks and try to explain why antiracist politics and ethics not only require consideration of nature and time but also promote a timely obligation to roam into humanism's forbidden zones.

Complexity, Dynamism, and Agency: How Can Dialectical Biology Inform Geography?

Pon., 05/22/2017 - 09:10
Abstract

Dialectical approaches, variously interpreted, have been advocated for by geographers for several decades. At the same time, critical environmental geography has recently become dominated by vital materialist strands of thought, the advocates of which have sometimes framed their own work in opposition to dialectics. Critics perceive two major problems with a dialectical framework; that it cements a nature–society dualism and that it insufficiently accounts for the agency or vitality of non-human life. This paper seeks to address these criticisms by engaging with work by biologists who have been influenced by dialectical ideas. I outline two examples, Richard Lewontin and Richard Levins’ understanding of the way organism and environment mutually construct each other and research by Ivette Perfecto and John Vandermeer that offers a non-dualist approach to wildlife conservation in agricultural ecosystems. The article discusses some of the ways in which these understandings might inform contemporary debates in political ecology.

Politics of the Anthropocene: Formation of the Commons as a Geologic Process

Thu, 05/11/2017 - 11:05
Abstract

In the Anthropocene humanity acquires a new collective geologic identity. There are two contradictory movements in this Anthropocenic thought; first, the Anthropocenic trace in the geologic record names a commons from below insomuch as humanity is named as an undifferentiated “event” of geology; second, the Anthropocene highlights the material diversities of geologic bodies formed through historical material processes. This paper addresses the consequences of this geologic subjectivity for political thought beyond a conceptualization of the commons as a set of standing reserves. Discourses of limits and planetary boundaries are contrasted with the exuberance and surplus of fossil-fuelled energy. Drawing on the political economy of Georges Bataille and the material communism of Maurice Blanchot, I argue for the necessity of a political aesthetics that can traverse the difference between common and uncommon experience in the formation of an Anthropocene commons.

But I'm Just an Artist!? Intersections, Identity, Meaning, and Context

Pet., 05/05/2017 - 03:15
Abstract

This article revisits the complex intersections of identity and meaning in the context of a world in which cosmopolitanism is increasingly questioned. The role of the artist with regard to activism and cosmopolitan flows becomes difficult to navigate but important to probe. Findings drawn from fieldwork indicate that the artist is highly conflicted; often ephemerally aligned with various social movements that may or may not be related; and in a constant state of self-negotiation and identity formation that are highly dependent on local context. Intersectionality may be a useful frame to reconceptualize the artist as a relationally connected set of constantly shifting identities rather than an assumed category, as sometimes portrayed. Key to this is an appreciation of the role of the observer in this process. Singapore is envisioned as a place of intersecting identity; so, too, are the artists within it, caught between local context and global currents.

Riding the Rhino: Conservation, Conflicts, and Militarisation of Kaziranga National Park in Assam

Pet., 05/05/2017 - 03:10
Abstract

Since 2004, media and public opinion in Assam (India) have focused on increasing instances of poaching of rhinoceros for their horns and presence of Bengali-speaking Muslim peasants, especially in and around the iconic Kaziranga National Park. From hastily made digital films, to anti-poaching motifs at Durga Puja pandals, the plight of the rhinoceros has occupied an important position in an acrimonious political discourse on Assamese culture. The innocence and dignity attributed to the animal stands in marked contrast to the lack of discussion on the large numbers of young men who have been killed in anti-poaching campaigns by the state. This article looks at the interstices of class, culture and commerce in an attempt to understand the popular deification of the rhinoceros and implications of the developmental discourse that seeks to put people and rhino in their “rightful” place.

Issue Information - TOC

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 11:17

No abstract is available for this article.