Towards Inclusive Environmental Governance: a Study of the Expert-Lay Interplay in a Brazilian Social Movement
Delgado Alemán, Ana
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First and foremost this dissertation concerns itself with inclusive manners of environmental governance. In a broad sense, it addresses the science-politics interplay in environmental governance. It focuses upon two main issues: the expert-lay interplay and the inter-relation between activism and science. Particularly, the dissertation looks at how these relations take place within the MST (Movimento Sem Terra/Landless People’s Movement), which is one of the largest social movements in Latin America. During the last ten years, a fraction of this movement has transformed itself towards taking a more environmentalist stance. Such a change has come along with an increasing process of “expertification” of the movement and a renewed interest in the “democratization of science”. Within MST there is an important debate on how to include local and traditional knowledges in the production of “scientific facts”. To a large extent, the arguments and descriptions presented in this work are based upon an ethnographic research carried out by the author between January 2005 and September 2006. The dissertation includes collaborations with Doctor Roger Strand and Doctor Kjetil Rommetveit. The arguments presented here build upon theoretical approaches of science and technology studies as well as environmental studies (mainly sociology and anthropology). The thesis tries to integrate empirical and descriptive work with theoretical and normative reflection. The ethnographic descriptions show how the environmentalist fraction of MST has adopted, reinterpreted, contested and mobilized scientific images and claims, adapting them to MST’s political agenda. Furthermore, the dissertation presents some conceptual suggestions in the pursuit of more inclusive environmental governance. The arguments are organized around four main issues: 1) the social perceptions of science, identity and collective action; 2) trust in science and experts; 3) the constitution and social distribution of expertise; 4) inclusive environmental governance. These issues are investigated and discussed through the four papers that make up the corpus of the dissertation. In general terms, the dissertation concludes that the expert-lay interplay should be understood as deeply embedded in particular contexts of power relations. Categories such as “expert”, “science”, “ecology”, “lay”, “citizenship”, “transparency” or “democracy”, are given different meanings and uses by different actors, in accordance with particular contexts of action. Those categories are partly the result of power relations. But in part, they are also re-conceptualised and mobilized in new social struggles. They shape new realities of environmental governance in the global and local levels. Science and politics (in this case, science and environmental activism) are co-produced in complex and often unpredictable ways. In the pursuit of“real” inclusive environmental governance, empirical work on how this co-production takes place is needed.
Paper 1: Delgado, A.; Rommetveit, K., 2009, “Our Strength is Diversity”: Imaginaries of Nature and Community in a Brazilian Social Movement. Full text not available in BORA.Paper 2: Public Understanding of Science 19(5), Delgado, A., Activist trust: the Diffusion of Green Expertise in a Brazilian Landscape, pp. 562-577. Copyright SAGE Publications. Full text not available in BORA due to publisher restrictions. The published version is available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0963662508098578Paper 3: Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 21(6), Delgado, A., Opening Up For Participation in Agro-biodiversity Conservation: the Expert-Lay Interplay in a Brazilian Social Movement, pp. 559-577. Copyright 2008 Springer Science+Business Media B.V. Full text not available in BORA due to publisher restrictions. The published version is available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10806-008-9117-6Paper 4: Geoforum 41(1), Delgado, A.; Strand, R., Looking North and South: Ideals and Realities of Inclusive Environmental Governance, pp. 144-153. Copyright 2009 Elsevier Ltd. Full text not available in BORA due to publisher restrictions. The published version is available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2009.09.008