Workshop on Communal Sovereignty in the Era of Globalization: Competing
for Natural Resources
First invitation to a workshop to be held by the Seminar
for Development Studies at Uppsala University,
on Saturday 25 October 2003.
Venue: Collegium for Development Studies,
Övre Slottsgatan 1, Uppsala
Registration no later than October 10,
2003, by sending a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Background: The workshop will critically
analyze how local communities (primarily in the Third World) are affected
by the world-wide changes of the legally defined rights to own and use
natural resources. Many communities find themselves exposed to increasing
restrictions of their use of the natural environment, the right to which
(as usufruct or property) they previously may have been granted through
state regulated legislation as part of a notion of ”common good.”
The use of natural resources is today a contested arena where various
actors, many of which are international, claim their interests. Simultaneously,
states are abandoning their sovereign control of these resources as well
as the control of the arena where rights to resources have been regulated.
We particularly wish to look at the consequences these
changes have for ”place-based peoples,” peoples and communities
that to a high degree have formed their livelihood and identity situated
in a specific territory. What have the consequences been for peoples'
means to subsistence and relative autonomy, as well as the ways they organize
their lives and construct their experiences of the natural environment
and their relation to the specific place? We will also look at responses
from local communities in the attempt to resist the imposed exclusion
from natural resources, sometimes in new, unorthodox alliances with other
local stake-holders, sometimes in cooperation with a diverse transnational
social movement. Ultimately, the workshop aims to explore the new forms
of ”politics of nature” that are evolving as a consequence
of these legal changes.
In the workshop, we will look at three different types
of global resource control affecting local communities, each addressed
through a case study:
– Neoliberal market oriented privatization, where
the privileged access to natural resources is granted the highest bidder,
often transnational corporations.
– Environment protection regulations promoted by international
non-governmental organizations, sometimes colliding with local interests.
– Intra-state regulations, whether concerning commerce, development
planning or environment protection.
The opening keynote address will be held by Arturo
Escobar, Kenan Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, University
of North Carolina, USA. Prof. Escobar is internationally renown for his
work on political ecology, He has recently focused on the interrelations
among state, capital, and social movements in a Colombia rainforest region
in their struggles over the definition of, and control over, the regions