Theses - Geography
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- ItemOpen AccessReviving Dams: A Relational Technopolitics of Hydropower in the HimalayaSaklani, Udisha; Saklani, Udisha [0000-0003-1318-5553]By the end of the 20th century, mega dams were no longer popular with donors, due to growing socio-environmental opposition; a poor record in terms of outcomes and profitability; and the turn to governance and the ‘soft wiring’ of development amongst donors. However, interest in mega dams has revived, and they are now firmly back on the agenda of international donor agencies and governments in the Global South. The Himalayan region is one of the most iconic sites for contemporary mega-dam infrastructure development, despite ecological precarity, concerns around the increasing intensity and frequency of infrastructure hazards, and dam costs and debt. This thesis contributes to the understanding of the return of ‘faith’ in large hydraulic infrastructure, particularly in relation to projects that were previously halted or suspended due to social and environmental contestation. Starting with the construction of the Arun-3 hydropower project in Nepal, which has been revived after more than a decade-long suspension, I show that the resurgence of mega dams in the region is reflective of a new technopolitical regime. This new regime comprises an expanding base of ‘new’ actors, visions, discursive rationalities, and practices, which operate across multiple spatialities. It is shaped by historic events and changing (geo)political-economic conditions and reflects new levels of complexity and interdependencies in the governance of energy systems, which have made it more difficult for affected persons and activists to contest dams in the new century. The dissertation seeks to advance debates in contemporary development geography concerning new forms of partnerships and practices, and reflects on the significance of sociotechnical imaginaries, discourses, geopolitical and historical conditions, and tensions in explaining the processes and consequences of mega dams as ‘development solutions’. As well as exploring the transnational circuits of planning and finance that are facilitating the making of new hydropower hotspots in the Himalayas, the thesis also assesses how host countries/administrative regions (such as Nepal) deal with the burgeoning interests, strong advocacy, and funding support for hydropower development in their territories. Unravelling the entanglements of this new energy infrastructure wave, I suggest that mega projects like dams are not a singular apolitical, technical entity that are fixed by spatial, temporal, and historical boundaries. Instead, dams are constantly in a state of becoming, as new hegemonies and development logics are established and re-established. Studying the technopolitics of such interventions can alert us to the voices, actors, techniques, practices, and discourses that are prioritized or marginalized in particular historic moments. It can also offer a nuanced perspective on the emergence or re-emergence of certain development priorities and projects at different points in time.
- ItemEmbargoRewilding in the Oder Delta, Germany-Poland: Ecological, social and economic drivers of landscape changeOverton, MichaelRestored wetlands, overgrown industrial sites, re-natured rivers, protected exclusion zones, abandoned farmland, and a host of new and returning animals including wolves, lynx, European elk, konik ponies and Highland cattle now feature in the rewilding landscape of the Oder Delta. Rewilding is a function of deliberate efforts by conservationists to facilitate natural processes, alongside myriad other social, economic, ecological and geomorphic factors. The relative insignificance of rewilding actions designing and managing nature in the Oder Delta prompts closer inspection of why rewilding happens here and what rewilding might entail more generally. Key drivers are identified through a critical biogeography of wildlife in the Oder Delta: How their distributions and movements are affected by a rich history; how individuals and species experience and shape rewilding futures; and how biopolitics governs animals’ lives whilst occasionally offering them greater autonomy to rewild. An exploration of rewilding-positive forces is augmented by analysis of ‘the business of rewilding’. Organisations operate in a competitive bioeconomy in which their aims and strategies must adapt to make rewilding pay and so the concepts of rewilding they proffer change. The Oder Delta offers an example of European rewilding in process where the effects of top-down nature conservation are largely absent on the ground and wildlife returns are somewhat serendipitous, challenging us to think beyond popular notions of rewilding as ecological restoration. On the other hand, rewilding cannot be explained away as nature 'filling the gaps’. Through developing a critical biogeography, distinct but interconnected political, ecological, social and economic processes emerge which begin to offer some explanations for why specific natures are appearing in specific places, in only some cases with associated conservation agendas.
- ItemEmbargoInnovative development finance: A critical analysisHughes, Sarah; Hughes, Sarah [0000-0002-8147-6793]This PhD investigates innovative development finance, a celebrated trend in development, arguing that, while there is potential, there are also important economic and political costs. Innovative development finance, which has emerged since the millennium, is situated at the intersection of the turn to private finance in development and the financialisation of development. This PhD develops and adopts a follow the money methodology, using critical financial analysis, to analyse three emblematic case studies of innovative development finance: the International Finance Facility for Immunisation, the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility, and The Currency Exchange. This PhD argues that innovative development finance initiatives make three core development claims: to leverage private finance, manage risk, and create markets. Conceptually, these interventions represent financial solutions to genuine development challenges. Following the money contributes a detailed empirical understanding of the economic and political consequences of the financialisation of development. In contrast to its core claims, innovative development finance fundamentally relies on public finance with no aid additionality, manages risk in a limited way and creates additional financial risks, supports existing financial markets, and is expensive with significant private profit opportunities. Politically, innovative development finance interventions represent technical financial solutions, which I suggest can be understood through the concept of ‘rendering financial?’, and are ruled by financial experts. The consequences are to de-politicise, financialise, and limit political control and accountability in development. The implications of these findings are significant. In the light of the economic and political costs of the financialisation of development, this PhD also touches on alternatives which deliver many of the same benefits with fewer costs.
- ItemRestrictedBotanical Biopolitics: The Sociopolitical Lives of Flowers in Victorian BritainLawrence, Anna; Lawrence, Anna [0000-0003-4998-8761]This thesis is an archivally grounded investigation of plant-human relations in Victorian Britain which considers how people engaged with and thought about the plants which surrounded them in everyday life. Seeking to position Victorian plant-thinking as a significant antecedent of contemporary critical plant studies, I turn to flowers as the part of vegetal life most readily philosophised during the nineteenth century. Flowers during this period took on an absurd weight of meaning-making, used to symbolise emotion, store memories, speak of God, and teach lessons of moral goodness. Scientific re evaluations of plant intelligence – in the nineteenth century as today – prompted a philosophical re evaluation of plant liveliness as flowering plants were granted agency, used to civilise, domesticate and discipline, their beauty often working to obscure the more complicated reasons behind the promotion of floriculture and floral appreciation. Each of the four chapters presented here provides a window onto a different realm of flower-human engagement, each mediated by a particular force – capitalism, religion, urbanisation, colonialism. The first chapter considers the commodification of cut-flowers in the industrial economy; the second examines religious languages of flowers and theological negotiations of scientific thought; the third turns to domestic working-class floriculture within Britain’s polluted urbanising centres; the fourth travels to Aotearoa New Zealand to look at the floricultural practices of settler women and Māori. The four chapters are organised around the four seasons, each introducing a seasonally appropriate floral ‘guide’ through which the archival material is drawn: the winter narcissus, the spring primrose, summer fuchsia, and autumn dahlia. The histories presented here aim to centre the plants themselves as biopolitical subjects whose lives simultaneously governed and were governed by the humans who grew around them.
- ItemEmbargoTrees Outside of the Forest: A Political Ecology of Tree Planting in KenyaNeilson, AlasdairOver the last two decades, tree planting has been viewed as a silver bullet to some of the world’s most pressing social and environmental issues, most notably climate change. This is especially the case in sub-Saharan Africa, which has seen a proliferation of tree planting projects and targets. Yet, seeing tree planting as a solution to environmental and social issues has a long history. In this thesis, I analyse the political ecology of tree planting in Kenya. I build on the concept of the political forest, the notion that ‘forests’ are produced through political as much as biophysical processes. I focus on three key dynamics: (i) the changing priorities of the Kenyan state towards tree planting since independence; (ii) the construction and agency of Kenya’s national tree planting targets and forest metrics; and (iii) how a carbon forestry programme in central Kenya ‘hits the ground’ within the broader political, ecological and economic context of Kenya. My findings show that there is a long history of the Kenyan state reaching for tree planting to solve complex socio-environmental issues. I demonstrate, however, that the motives and narratives underpinning tree planting have changed over time, as well as where tree planting is expected to occur and who is expected to plant trees. The state’s emphasis has changed from the planting of commercial plantations within state forests for economic development to the idea that farmers outside state forests must be the principal agents of tree planting to combat a wide range of issues, such as climate change and wood fuel production. Next, I show the power of the 10 per cent tree cover target, which currently informs tree planting in Kenya. I show how the target is fundamentally arbitrary and partly based on a history of comparing Kenya’s forest cover to that of other nations. The 10 per cent target has been produced and reproduced by numerous actors in Kenya for decades. I show the complexities of how the target is defined and measured and the manner in which it interacts with other forest metrics. Finally, I analyse a specific on-farm tree planting for carbon credits project near Mount Kenya to understand what tree planting looks like ‘on the ground’ in Kenya. Although fast-growing trees are by far the most popular choice of tree for farmers to plant, this is not being driven solely by carbon. Indeed, the project must contend with the other values of trees that have been impacted by the broader politics of tree planting in Kenya. Here I show that the material landscape of tree planting around Mount Kenya is a result of a complex web of relations.
- ItemEmbargoThe Camouflaging of Austerity: Institutional geographies of mental health in contemporary EnglandKiely, Edward; Kiely, Edward [0000-0003-1459-587X]This thesis examines the landscapes of mental health service provision which have emerged under austerity, and the institutional geographies which work to reproduce these. While austerity is sometimes portrayed as a relatively uniform process of retrenchment, I begin by offering a forensic cultural geography of austerity, a granular survey of the uneven geographies of mental health services and spending which emerged between 2010 and 2020. I situate these in a conjunctural analysis of English politics, economics and culture. To conceptualise how these national patterns are rescaled into the everyday, I then turn to the question of austerity’s institutionalisation. How is the process of fiscal cutting made ethically and affectively tenable for those who must enact it? These empirical sections build on nine on participant observation with two groups of participants in a county in the south of England: clients and staff at a mental health day centre threatened with closure; and county council commissioners who allocate funding for services. While bureaucrats are typically depicted as meting out austerity with indifference, the commissioners I worked with were deeply invested in the notion that they provided care. Consequently, they reimagined austerity in optimistic terms, as a hopeful process of optimisation. I map the institutional geographies within the council which enabled this austerity optimism to be embodied and felt, and the discourses and knowledge-making practices which underpinned this interpretation. I argue that these practices inculcated an anaesthetic ignorance among the commissioners – a placatory unseeing of austerity’s harms which allowed them to continue with the work of cutting. I conclude by foregrounding the voices and experiences of clients at the mental day centre, offering a countertopography which challenges claims of austerity optimism. Here, I theorise austerity and care temporally arguing that budget shortfalls were undermining expansive temporalities of care, intensifying distress and destabilising hopes for the future. In turn, they deepened commodification, tying staff and clients ever more tightly into the logics and time-spaces of the market. This thesis makes four significant contributions to geographical literature. In response to approaches which occlude the complexity of state retrenchment, it develops a comprehensive account of mental health services and expenditure under austerity, relating these patterns to a political and economic conjuncture emergent in Britain since 2010. It furthers geographical research on ‘everyday austerity’ through a relational account of the institutional geographies which rescale austerity from fiscal policy to quotidian phenomenon, drawing on feminist theories of affective economies. It advances mental health geography by mapping landscapes of service provision under austerity and conceptualising the role of institutional actors in enacting these. And finally, it develops the concept of camouflaging, as a process integral to reproduction and legitimation of austerity. Rather than focussing on moments when austerity materialises and is felt, the thesis charts the practices through which austerity is made to disappear from everyday life.
- ItemOpen AccessHow and what do science advisers learn? Insights from environmental science-policy in the UKObermeister, Noam; Obermeister, Noam [0000-0001-7738-9462]Through their engagements with science-policy, academics often have to revisit some of their enduring assumptions and expectations about the world of policymaking. They have to learn to become (effective) science advisers in diverse contexts. No instruction manuals or guidelines have quite prepared them for their experiences sitting on scientific advisory committees or meeting with civil servants. Many scholars have spoken about the importance of learning in the interactions between scientists and policymakers, but there has been little empirical investigation putting science advisers’ learning under the microscope. How and what do they learn? How do the various advisory settings they inhabit shape their learning? And how (if at all) is their learning differentiated by levels of experience and other factors such as disciplinary training? These are some of the questions I address in this thesis. Based on in-depth interviews with experienced advisers and early-career researchers, and ethnographic observations of advisory meetings, I analyse the different moving parts in advisers’ learning journeys and the extent to which their learning is situated and transformative. I argue that there are three levels at which such an analysis can be organised: the macro (professional cultures), micro (individual profiles), and meso (organisational cultures). I discuss them in that order. Following a grounded theory approach, I devise a model of advisers’ learning based on the idea of the cultural encounter and two models of science advice (collective intelligence and networked intelligence) with repercussions on learning. I also introduce and reflect on methodological innovations, including an experimental pilot of longitudinal diaries and a stylised simulation of a scientific advisory committee. In the final chapter, I discuss the promise of these methods and present the practical implications of my findings for less experienced advisers, early-career researchers, educators, science-policy researchers, and knowledge brokers.
- ItemOpen AccessEpistemic Mobilities of Climate Migration: a French Case StudyDurand-Delacre, David; Durand-Delacre, David [0000-0001-8847-6174]Climate change and migration are two prominent subjects of intense concern occupying public and political debate today. Since the mid-1980s, a growing academic and policy literature has sought to characterise the relationship between them. From the outset, this literature grappled with major conceptual, practical, and political questions. What is the causal relationship linking climate change to migration? Where is climate migration occurring? What responses does it call for, and what principles should guide interventions? These questions remain largely unresolved today. A clear definition of climate migration remains elusive, as do projects to address rather than simply study the phenomenon. In this thesis, I argue that understanding the unresolved ambiguities and uncertainties that characterise climate migration debates requires paying close attention to how knowledge about climate migration is produced and circulated. To this end, I develop an ‘epistemic mobilities’ approach to climate migration, drawing on prior work on ‘travelling ideas’ by historians and sociologists of knowledge (and on cognate concepts in related disciplines). Focusing on the French context, I ask who participates in climate migration debates, how they define and represent it, and the reasoning behind the responses they propose. Methodologically, I use interviews with development practitioners (at the Agence Française de Développement and in non-governmental organisations), knowledge producers (academics and journalists) and politicians. I analyse the documents produced and cited by these stakeholders and conduct a corpus-driven analysis of news media coverage about climate migration. In the analysis, I triangulate these three sources of information and bring them in conversation with the academic literature. I describe an unstable and fragmented stakeholder network marked by persistent tensions. On the one hand, climate migration is seen as a self-evidently real phenomenon requiring a response. On the other, and in a political context marked by widespread hostility towards migrants, stakeholders continue to disagree on the usefulness of causal claims linking climate change to migration. Further, I show that dominant practices used to represent climate migration only serve to reinforce these tensions. French stakeholders never successfully locate climate migration in a “here and now” amenable to intervention. Finally, I also highlight simultaneous and contradictory attempts to politicise and depoliticise responses to climate migration, as evidenced by debates about responsibility and justice. Having underscored the contingent nature of climate migration debates, I conclude the thesis by comparing my French case study with other countries, suggesting that many of the issues faced by French stakeholders are likely to apply in other contexts.
- ItemRestrictedEquity in healthcare: Stakeholder perceptions on the implementation of the Community-Based Health Insurance scheme in EthiopiaJack, Papa MomodouThe last four decades have seen universal health coverage (UHC) become a central part of the global agenda. Despite this centrality, a large proportion of academics still focus solely on health schemes in the Global North, and the remaining few that have evaluated interventions in developing countries have rarely considered the inequities and power dynamics that exist within health systems in a comprehensive and interrelated way. This study adopted a qualitative approach, primarily based on 223 semi-structured interviews, to explore stakeholder perceptions on the implementation of the Community-Based Health Insurance Scheme (CBHIS) in Ethiopia. In doing so, this research offers a bold contribution to understanding the extent to which efforts to achieve UHC in the regions of Tigray and Oromia can be considered equitable, particularly when gender and ethnicity are examined. It explores how implementation can diverge from programme design by investigating the role of health workers, as street level bureaucrats, in the day-to-day delivery of the scheme. It also contextualises findings through the theoretical lenses of patient-centredness, the five dimensions of access, and the notions of gender-based power dynamics. This study shows that although the CBHIS has contributed to increasing access to healthcare services for many, particularly those residing in rural areas, such progress has been partially hindered by complex implementation challenges. Low awareness levels and high health worker workloads, combined with a shortage of medication and diagnostic equipment in public health facilities, amongst other issues, have resulted in a scheme that is not always able to meet the expectations of its members. Furthermore, CBHIS decision-makers were confronted with the challenge of striking a balance between equity and financial sustainability. This study contributes to understandings about how individuals navigate health insurance programmes, how front-line stakeholders interpret policy directives, and how authorities respond to emerging and shifting implementation challenges.
- ItemEmbargoIs climate real? A phenomenological approach to climate and its changesHepach, Maximilian Gregor; Hepach, Maximilian Gregor [0000-0001-7180-2754]The question if climate is real is occasioned by a discrepancy between the increased certainty that climate change is being experienced and the impossibility of experiencing climate (change) according to the very framework which provides the basis for this certainty: climate science. I trace this discrepancy back to a question of realism: What sort of realism is necessary in order to make sense of experiences of climate and its changes? In this thesis, I develop a phenomeno-logical realism as a response, which dispels the false dichotomy between ‘objective’ scientific knowledge and ‘subjective’ experience. I do so along three main lines of argument: (i) I turn to the first use of ‘phenomenology’ in Anglo-American geography, namely in Sauer’s Morpholo-gy of landscape. By reflecting on what occasioned Sauer to turn to phenomenology, I identify a precedent for my question “Is climate real?” in the history of geography. Informed by the theo-ry Sauer draws on, I develop a Sauerian phenomenology beyond what Sauer himself wrote; an incipient phenomenological realism in geography. (ii) I go on to turn to the origin of the very concept of climate itself, namely the Ancient Greek term klima [κλίμα]. After highlighting the latent, abstract nature of klima, the traces of which extend into our present-day scientific under-standing of climate, I undertake a counterfactual etymology. I (re-)construct a concept of climate that might have emerged based on a different Ancient Greek term: hora [ὥρα]. Through a geo-graphical reading of Plato’s dialogues, I develop a first phenomenological account of climate and its changes. Turning to Aristotle’s work on Metaphysics, I go on to give further shape to a phenomenological realism by reflecting on what sort of ‘thing’ or ‘being’ climate is. Finally, (iii) I situate my own phenomenological approach in the history of phenomenology in geogra-phy. I argue that the introduction of phenomenological theory into human geography as a reac-tion to positivism has led to a subjectivistic or anti-realist understanding of phenomenology. Hence, my doctoral project is both to account for the experiential reality of climate and its changes and, by example, to detail an alternative geographical approach to phenomenology. I conclude with a re-reading of Husserl’s later work, informed by the phenomenological chal-lenges climate presents one with. In summary, the question if climate is real is not merely philo-sophical. What one takes to be real inevitably shapes how one makes sense of experience and what is deemed to be possible in the future. Much public discourse around climate change in-formed by climate science is increasingly concerned with the narrowing down of reality in or-der to instil a sense of urgency. Here, a phenomenological approach promises to open up new ways of making sense of living in a changing climate.
- ItemOpen AccessInternational Development Cooperation from Below: Recipient Agency in Agriculture Development Cooperation in HaitiBaran, KatarzynaRecipient agency has been theorised in different ways in development discourses and practices; but it is widely recognised that development settings have always been uneven fields of power, in which recipient agency faces various forms of constraint and limitation. Since the 1970s, ‘participatory development’, aiming to engage local populations in development projects, has become popular among development practitioners working on the ground. In ‘mainstream’ development aid approaches since the late 1990s, the idea of state-led recipient ownership and participation in development has gained popularity among international financial institutions, donor and recipient governments, and aid practitioners. At the same time, with the ‘rise of the South’, the development cooperation landscape became much more polycentric; including around ideational claims on non-conditionality and respect for the sovereign authority of partner states. At least in theory, there is now more choice, giving recipients more bargaining power and thus more agency. Whereas studies of recipient agency have focused so far on structural inequalities between recipients and donors in North-South relations, and on new opportunities offered by the Southern partners, this thesis proposes looking beyond the North/South categories and identifies what in practical terms affects recipient agency. The thesis explores recipient agency through detailed, field-based research in Haiti, analysing the complexities of donor-recipient interactions. In a case-study analysis, the research compares agricultural development projects of Brazil, Cuba, France, and the United States, to explore how the assertions of Northern donors (such as participation and ownership) and Southern partners (solidarity, demand-driven approach, mutual respect) unfold in practice. A systematic analysis of recipient perceptions provides an empirically led analysis of the ways in which dichotomous categories of North and South are problematic, and in this case, are certainly not necessarily categories that are meaningful to recipients. By looking beyond these binary categories the thesis points to particular factors related to recipient agency that can be identified within and across the two categories, which offers a more nuance understanding of the subject. To better understand these factors, the thesis proposes a three-level of analysis model that looks at recipient agency on a project level, on an interpersonal level and on the state level.
- ItemOpen AccessRoots of Enquiry: Farmers, Forests and Tree Cover Change in Kwahu East, GhanaBissell, ClareThe Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has been monitoring bird populations and habitat changes in Ghana out of concern for migratory wood warblers since 2011. Based on a small field site in the forest-farm landscape of Kwahu East, Ghana, their research concluded that tree cover is declining. They hypothesised that this could be affecting the birds’ wintering habitat and wanted to understand better what social and economic factors are impacting on trees in the local area. They were also interested in exploring how farmers could be supported to keep more forest trees on their farms. In response to this context, this thesis explores the multidimensional factors affecting the number and types of trees in the landscape. The interdisciplinary, participatory methodology was inspired by the researcher’s desire to communicate the value of a political ecology approach to conservation scientists working in Kwahu East and further afield. The thesis is structured with four empirical chapters, which each reveal a new layer of understanding about the complexity of tree cover change in Kwahu East, Ghana. Starting at the farmer level, it outlines the diversity of smallholders who cultivate the forest-farm, recording how their livelihood practices, adaptations and limitations interact with forest trees. It demonstrates that trees are present in the landscape in part due to the presence of the farmers and shows how farmer agencies are constrained by broader economic and political factors. Immersion in daily livelihood creation uncovered local narratives of forest decline, leading the researcher out of the forest-farm and into the towns where more overarching decisions about tree management and land use are made. Turning attention to local authority institutions and influential actors, the research reveals how management of the forest for timber production and the district-wide vision for development are impacting on tree cover. Different narratives about farmers and forests are made visible, as well as various large-scale infrastructure and tourism development schemes. These will determine the trajectory of change that affects the extent and composition of tree cover. Through an unfolding story of ambition, collusion and vested interests, it becomes clear that tree cover change is far more complex an issue to address than it appeared at the beginning. Providing ethnographic detail of livelihoods and an exploration of the constraints faced by farmers, this thesis shows how taking a political ecology approach provides both a holistic understanding of a landscape and possible pathways towards alternative futures. This is useful for informing ongoing research and design of locally relevant conservation interventions, particularly in relation to forests and trees on farms in Ghana.
- ItemEmbargoContingent camps: An ethnographic study of contested encampment in the northern French and northern Moroccan borderlandsHagan, MariaAs clandestine migration towards the European Union continues, politics of hostility and securitisation against those who travel northwards are constantly being reinforced. This thesis is situated in the shadows of borders zones where makeshift encampment is no longer tolerated, and violent deterrence practices intimately target migrant people. Drawing on extensive fieldwork among displaced people living in the borderlands of northern France (2017-2020) and northern Morocco (2019), it scrutinises how racialised acts of routine shelter destruction by police forces have come to be the norm at these sites. In these conditions, displaced people constantly seek to rebuild shelter or forge it out of the environment at the frontier: between the headstones of an abandoned Tangier cemetery or the petrol pumps of an industrial zone in Calais. Through a deep ethnographic approach, this thesis tunes into the rhythms that govern encampment, the atmospheres inherent to these spaces and their effects on those who live them. Moving beyond readings of the camp as a fixed space, it conceptualises these fleeting spaces of dwelling as “contingent camps”, drawing on assemblage, non-representational theory and writing on Black fugitivity to capture their dynamic ontology. Through interview extracts, field notes and visual materials, this thesis bears witness to a punitive contemporary geography of ruination, drawing on microlevel evidence to discuss the human, humanitarian and (geo)political implications of the rise of contingent camps. It also investigates the ambiguous social formations and modes of resistance these spaces give rise to, conceptualising the mode of dwelling that emerges in these conditions as rhizomatic and fugitive, joining a broader body of work theorising migration as a defiant, decolonial act.
- ItemOpen AccessVital Connections: A Multi-scalar Exploration of the Conservation Corridor Assemblage in TanzaniaGreen, Annette; Green, Annette [0000-0002-9322-2512]My research investigates corridors for wildlife conservation in Tanzania. I draw from political ecology and science and technology studies to shape my enquiry, examining processes of discursive and material construction of this form of conservation space, and exploring what happens when the idea of the corridor ‘touches down’ in particular places. I approach the corridor as a socially and politically contingent outcome of negotiations taking place at multiple sites, at different scales, presenting data on these processes as they take place at the (broadly defined) national, regional and local level in Tanzania. I use Q methodology, semi-structured interviews, workshops, observation and documentary review to inform my interrogation of the corridor’s presence in Tanzania’s literal and figurative conservation landscape. At the national level, I offer an in-depth exploration of perspectives on corridors held by professional conservation stakeholders using Q methodology. I uncover three perspectives, and argue that the dynamic between them contributes to the corridor’s burgeoning hegemony in conservation. At the subnational level, I analyse the discursive construction of a specific regional corridor purportedly connecting two protected areas in central Tanzania – the Udzungwa Mountains National Park and the Selous Game Reserve. I explore how the idea of this regional corridor gained a foothold, and highlight the resilience of the idea even as its original advocates began to abandon it as a lost cause. At the local level, I explicate the manifestation of a village-level corridor project within the same region. I show how multiple elements – including the ‘mappability’ of the corridor, state-sanctioned spatial planning mechanisms, profit-making motivations of international voluntourism organisations and ideas of immutable nature – combine to result in a socially intractable and ecologically questionable corridor manifestation. My results show that corridors in Tanzania are not products of the straightforward ‘application’ of scientific knowledge, but rather can be understood as an assemblage – a confluence of diverse elements, connecting and colliding, and sustained by a diffuse and relational power. By highlighting selected examples of diverse manifestations of corridors at different scales, and tracing connections between them, my research draws explicit attention to processes of forming and maintaining the broader corridor assemblage in Tanzania. I emphasise that there is both an ethical and intellectual imperative to interrogate intuitively appealing conservation strategies, and to question why and how ideas gain momentum and staying power.
- ItemOpen AccessMachine Learning and remote sensing applications to shoreline dynamicsRogers, MartinCoastal communities and land covers are vulnerable receptors of erosion, flooding, or both in combination. The accurate, automated, and wide-scale determination of shoreline position, and its migration at the engineering scale (10-1 – 102 km), is imperative for future coastal risk adaptation and management. The recent increase in the acquisition and availability of Big Datasets, including multispectral remote sensing imagery, is providing new opportunities to monitor engineering scale rates of shoreline change and other constituents of coastal risk, including changes to human coastal population densities. This increase in data availability comes with novel challenges to devise and utilise methods to store, process, analyse and extract information from these Big Datasets. This thesis assesses the suitability of different Big Data approaches, namely Machine Learning (ML) and non-ML based tools, for the automated extraction of the coastal vegetation edge in remote sensing imagery. Compared to the instantaneous waterline, few vegetation edge methods have been developed and analysis of the coastal zone processes that can be detected using the shoreline proxy remain understudied. This thesis initially investigates whether non-ML methods are suitable for the extraction of the coastal vegetation edge from multispectral remote sensing imagery. A novel non-ML tool is introduced and applied, CoasTool, which considers the proximity of the instantaneous water line during vegetation edge extraction. CoasTool performance is compared to the outputs derived from well-established threshold contouring techniques and kernel-based methods as well as one form of ML, Support Vector Machines (SVM). Limitations in the performance of these tools, particularly along shorelines with discontinuous or graded vegetation boundaries, provide justification for the application of a separate form of ML, convolutional neural network (CNN), to this task. A novel CNN, VEdge_Detector, is trained and applied to extract the coastal vegetation edge and its outputs are compared to ground-referenced measurements and manually digitised vertical aerial photographs. VEdge_Detector is applied to a time series of vi images to detect annual to decadal scale shoreline dynamics discernible using the coastal vegetation edge. Shoreline change constitutes one element of coastal risk, and this thesis subsequently investigates the viability of integrating multiple ML-derived datasets, pertaining to different aspects of risk, to calculate relative coastal population exposure to shoreline change. The Guiana coastline, northern South America, is one of the most dynamic stretches of coastline in the world and a region where greater than 90% of its population live below 10 m elevation. The identification of locations where coastal populations are at greatest risk to coastal retreat in this region is thus very important to inform coastal risk management decisions. Accordingly, decadal-scale rates of shoreline change calculated using VEdge_Detector derived shoreline positions are combined with secondary, ML-derived, population datasets (WorldPop). The integration of the two ML-based datasets aids the identification of population exposure hotspot locations and discover, previously unpublished, locations where forced migration due to shoreline change has occurred. In concluding, the relative merits and drawbacks of using ML verses non-ML techniques to detect the coastal vegetation edge are discussed as well as considering the suitability of the coastal vegetation as a proxy of shoreline position. Further discussion is given on the different considerations coastal stakeholders will have when choosing the most suitable tool to use in shoreline detection tasks, including tool performance, speed, transparency, and ease of use. Remaining research gaps and future research requirements are emphasised, including the need for collaboration between different research institutions to suitably train and apply ML tools in the geosciences.
- ItemOpen AccessNegotiating the Panoptic Gaze: People, Power and Conservation Surveillance in the Corbett Tiger ReserveSimlai, TrishantIn recent years, the use of new and existing surveillance technologies in the practice of conservation has increased rapidly. This includes the use of drones, camera traps, satellite, and thermal imagery for activities such as wildlife monitoring, anti-poaching, and law enforcement. In many respects surveillance is constitutive of modern society, especially in urban spaces (Lyon 1995) where its use has been widely discussed. In the conservation context, surveillance alters the demarcation of spaces between nature and people by intensifying territorialization (Adams 2017), and it has been suggested that it could impact the wellbeing of local stakeholders in various ways (Sandbrook 2015, Sandbrook et al 2018). However, the social and political implications of surveillance technologies in conservation and natural resource management remain an underexplored field of empirical inquiry. Drawing from 13 months of ethnographic fieldwork in the Corbett Tiger Reserve, India, this thesis provides novel empirical material, that unpacks the social and political implications of conservation surveillance on local communities, conservation labour and on conservation governance. By situating my inquiry in the social and political history of the region, I argue that these technologies are used to establish multiple surveillance regimes resulting in the production of disciplined people and securitized conservation spaces. I also argue that the impacts of conservation surveillance are unequally experienced depending on intersections with often hidden dimensions of difference such as caste and gender. I further demonstrate that conservation surveillance exacerbates already prevalent social injustices and structural inequalities of gender, caste, and class discrimination, resulting in mistrust, harassment, and negative perceptions of local communities towards conservation practice. By engaging with the disciplines of surveillance, gender and labour studies, this thesis provides novel empirical evidence that corroborates, and adds to the previous, largely conceptual work done on this subject and has significant policy implications for conservation practice
- ItemOpen AccessEnforcement practice, development assistance and servicing clients: progressing compliance with wastewater discharge regulations in industrialised north VietnamLang, Marta AliceRapidly industrialising regions in low-middle income nations are an integral part of global manufacturing systems, and chemical discharge into their water systems from industry places pressure on weakly-developed environmental institutions. This research examines the specific case of wastewater pollution law enforcement practices at provincial scales in north Vietnam. It seeks to understand dominant logics and practical norms that help constitute the institutional context in which environmental officials operate, in part through considering responses to foreign assistance. The research explores the dynamic and diverse interactions amongst institutional context, organisational systems and models, and the practice of enforcement, to inform regulatory theory and intervention thinking. An analytical framework grounded in layered institutional analysis and critical realism is developed and tested for studying such phenomena. The thesis analyses practice, systems and business models in provincial environmental departments in Hà Nội, Bắc Ninh and Hải Phòng who received Canadian and Japanese development agency assistance, and a control province Vĩnh Phúc. The research involved 65 interviews with officials and development agency consultants; diary keeping by officials to capture evidence of practice; and analysis of provincial government and development agency documentation. The hypothesis was that resistance to and uptake of systems and practices promoted by development agencies would reveal constraints and opportunities for strengthening regulatory practice in this society, and in other rapidly industrialising societies where corrupt practices are endemic. The thesis concludes that enforcement is constrained by institutional logics and regulatory framings that drive conciliatory solutions, in order to retain industrial investment and make money under industry-as-client servicing models. Officials retain tactical space to place some pressure on non-compliant industry. Officials deploy flexibility and discretion to negotiate deals to progress regulatory compliance over time, while accommodating institutional and relational counter-pressures favouring the status quo. Systems enabling prioritisation, information sharing and follow up have the potential to support progress. It was anticipated that capacity, autonomy, reach and professionalism in evidence gathering would be enhanced by development assistance when compared to the control, however the indicators assessed were independent, with the exception of capacity indicators correlating to Canadian assistance.
- ItemEmbargoPopulism as resonance machine: Affect, the Sweden Democrats, and the 2018 Swedish General ElectionAiras, IsabelOver the past decade, ‘mainstream’ political parties in liberal democracies have been challenged by rising support for insurgent populist movements that reject the status quo. Despite widespread scholarly interest, however, the operative logics of populism as an apparatus of affective production and capture have been overlooked. Taking insights from the affective and more-than-human turns, this thesis responds to calls for political geographers to engage in these discussions and proposes we understand populism through the metaphor of the resonance machine. The argument is made through the case of the nationalist populist party, the Sweden Democrats (SD), with the 2018 Swedish General Election – in which SD grew more than any other party – as my core focus. Adopting an affectively conscientious approach, I analyse the machinery, musterings and mobilisations that fuel populism’s momentum. The thesis constitutes the first book-length ethnographic engagement with SD, with novel and rich data acquired through time spent with campaigners and supporters between April 2018 and May 2019. The analytical value of understanding populism as machinic is shown through the discussion of three central themes. First, I shed light on the feelings, ideas, and deep stories that moved voters. Specifically, I indicate the nuances of distrust and nostalgia and show the importance of events in both the amplification and capture of affect. Second, I show how SD intentionally tapped into the ‘gut feelings’ of the electorate by harnessing branding tools to project authenticity. Third, I demonstrate how territorialisation occurred at sites of encounter between the party and the electorate – both at physical ‘hotspots’ and in the online media ecosystem. I reveal the importance of creating an imagined community and shared common sense, suggest this explains how populisms evolve from protest movements into publics, and indicate potential implications for the institutionalisation and maintenance of these movements in the future.
- ItemOpen AccessCharacterising pangolin trade in China from a social science perspectiveWang, Yifu; Wang, Yifu [0000-0001-5937-2261]The demand for wildlife products around the world is growing rapidly according to various researches. As a result, trade in, and consumption of, wildlife products has become a major threat to global biodiversity. Pangolins are currently recognised as one of the most trafficked mammalian taxa globally, due to the high international and local demand for their products. Many recognize China as one of the biggest markets for pangolin products. Thus, its role in tackling illegal pangolin trade is a crucial responsibility for China globally. However, pangolin trade and markets in China have been little investigated in any holistic and in-depth way. My study uses social science approaches and aims to provide insights on pangolin trade and markets in China to help suggesting more effective conservation interventions. Literature, regulations, and seven online trade platforms related to pangolin trade and conservation were searched and relevant data were collected to provide background knowledge of current pangolin trade and markets in China. Fieldwork was conducted in the two Chinese provinces of Henan and Hainan from Sept 2016 to Apr 2017. Questionnaire surveys, semi-structured interviews, in-depth discussions with stakeholders along the pangolin trading chain were the main social science methods used in this research. Market Reduction Approaches (Schneider 2008) and Theory of Planned Behaviour (Ajzen 1991) were used as theoretical frameworks to design the research questions. One pangolin hunter, 131 individual villagers, four villager groups (four to ten people per group), 34 reserve workers, two pangolin meat dealers, four pangolin meat consumers, five restaurant owners, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioners in 41 hospitals, sellers in 134 pharmaceutical shops, two TCM wholesalers, and 2168 members of the general public were interviewed or surveyed in this study. Results show that illegal pangolin trade is widespread in the two study provinces of mainland China, especially in TCM markets, which were active both online and offline. The wild pangolin populations on Hainan Island still face threats from poaching and local demand for wildmeat. The main contributors to the widespread illegal trade were the lack of adequate law enforcement; poor awareness of trade related regulations among public and some key stakeholders; and the absence of certain key stakeholders in pangolin conservation process, such as the TCM community. Through this study, I suggest enforcement could be strengthened through increasing public participation in the process, in ways of reporting illicit trade and products. This requires enhancing public knowledge and awareness on pangolin trade and related regulations. On the other hand, to deal with the lack of representation of TCM community in pangolin conservation, their unique function and role in the overall conservation blueprint needs to be highlighted and targeted interventions are needed. In summary, achieving effective pangolin conservation in China needs close collaboration between all key stakeholders to correspondingly address the multiple types of demand on pangolin products. Methodology and insights from this study can also contribute to helping conservation in China or globally, and not only for pangolins, but for other threatened species as well.
- ItemOpen AccessSalt marsh substrate composition and responses to applied stress(2021-06-01) Brooks, HelenSalt marshes provide a variety of ecosystem services, including habitat provision, pollutant storage and attenuation of waves and currents. As such, understanding the resistance of the marsh sedimentary platform to erosion is important, particularly as marsh edge erosion is common on many shores. This resistance is likely to be strongly influenced by marsh biological, geochemical and sedimentological/geotechnical properties. Currently there is little systematic research into the within- and between-marsh variability in these properties and how they affect both marsh edge and marsh surface erosion processes. This thesis compares Tillingham marsh, eastern England, where the sediment is clay/silt-dominated and the marsh canopy is species-rich, to Warton marsh, Morecambe Bay, NW England, where the sediment is sand/silt-dominated and the vegetation species-poor. Soil shear strength and compressibility are determined by applying geotechnical methods which have not previously been applied to salt marsh environments to determine marsh resistance. These results are compared to commonly-used in situ methods for determining substrate strength, and then variations in substrate strength and compressibility are linked to measured variations in marsh composition. This research finds that particle size is a key control on marsh resistance to particle detachment, with root- and organic content providing an important secondary influence on marsh resistance, particularly to bulk failure processes. By comparing the angle of internal friction measured by shear box and ring shear tests, this research is able to isolate the influence of roots on substrate shear strength. This research enhances understanding of the links between marsh substrate composition and marsh substrate behaviour under applied stress. By linking this knowledge of how marsh composition affects marsh stability to marsh erosion processes and rates, this research sheds light on key determinants of marsh resistance to edge erosion, and thus improves our ability to predict future erosion, which is ultimately essential for the informed implementation of both nature-based coastal flood defences, and coastal restoration schemes.