Beyond Territory and Scarcity: Exploring Conflicts Over Natural Resource Management

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Quentin Gausset, Michael Anthony Whyte, Torben Birch-Thomsen
Nordic Africa Institute, 2005 - Social Science - 218 pages
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The attainment of sound and sustainable environmental management is one of humanity's greatest challenges this century, particularly in Africa, which is still heavily dependent on the exploitation of natural and agricultural resources and is faced with rapid population growth. Yet, this challenge should not be reduced to Malthusian parameters and the simple question of population growth and failing resources.
In this volume, ten anthropologists and geographers critically address traditional Malthusian discourses in essays that attempt to move "beyond territory and scarcity" by:
- Exploring alternatives to the strong natural determinism that reduces natural resource management to questions of territory and scarcity.
- Presenting material and methodologies that explore the different contexts in which social and cultural values intervene, and discovering more than "rational choice" in the agency of individuals.
- Examining the relevance of the different conceptions of territory for the ways in which people manage, or attempt to manage, natural resources.
- Placing their research within the framework of the developing discussion on policy and politics in natural resource management.
The studies are drawn from a range of sub-Saharan African countries: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Lesotho, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Sudan.

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About the author (2005)

Quentin Gausset is Lecturer at the Institute of Anthropology in the University of Copenhagen. He defended his PhD on the negotiation of identity in Central Cameroon at the Free University of Brussels. Since then he has worked on AIDS prevention in Zambia, and on the socio-cultural aspects of natural resource management in various interdisciplinary projects in Burkina Faso, Tanzania, southern Africa and Malaysia.

Michael Whyte is a Senior Lecturer in the Institute of Anthropology, University of Copenhagen. He has carried out long-term field research in eastern Uganda and western Kenya on issues including kinship, food security, HIV/AIDS and agricultural and economic change. He collaborates with Danish and Ugandan colleagues on the long-term Tororo Community Health project.

Torben Birch-Thomsen is Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Geography, University of Copenhagen, from which he also holds a PhD. His field of research is the environmental and socio-economic effects of land-use intensification (in particular in relation to the introduction of new technologies) in farming systems, and more generally the relationship between changing livelihood strategies and natural resource management. He has research experience of disciplinary as well as interdisciplinary fieldwork in Tanzania, Zambia, South Africa and Swaziland.

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