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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10362/5891

Título: Bridging environmental conflicts with social metabolism : forestry expansion and socioeconomic change
Autor: Baptista, Gualter Barbas
Orientador: Santos, Rui Ferreira dos
Palavras-chave: Social metabolism
Political ecology
Ecological economics
Environmental conflicts
Environmental security
History
Unequal exchange
Environmental load displacement
Consumption
Commodity fetishism
Mirror phase
Resource scarcity
Resource capture
Resource frontier
Hegemony
Post-politics
Narratives
Storyteller,
Theoretical pathways
Core-periphery,
World-systems
Eucalyptus
Pulp
Paper
Industry,
Modernization
Agriculture
Portugal
Issue Date: Nov-2010
Editora: FCT - UNL
Resumo: Environmental conflicts have traditionally been approached from several scientific fields. However, the different theoretical and empirical developments have proceeded in parallel, with often competing descriptive languages. Furthermore, they tend to focus on resolution, while neglecting the role of conflicts as an expression of groups facing social and ecological injustices perpetrated by the hegemony. This research attempted to build a politically useful understanding of why and how environmental conflicts appear, through interdisciplinary bridging and the avoidance of the post-political hegemony. By focusing on an ex-post historical analysis of the conflicts against eucalyptus plantations in Portugal in the late 1980s, it attempted to identify patterns and dynamics that relate to conflicts. Theories were anchored along the concepts of social metabolism and, more particularly, the framework of multiple scale integrated assessment of societal and ecological metabolism (MuSIASEM). An adaptation of MuSIASEM for conflict analysis was iteratively developed with the empirical analysis of the political ecology of the case study. During the pre-analytical phase, an open information space is developed, comprising environmental conflicts literature, as well as the environmental history and institutional analysis of the case study. The information space is subjected to successive compressions before reaching a relevant structure of the problem. A storyteller is defined according to the relative power imbalances of the conflict situation. Theoretical pathways are created to serve as auxiliaries for the formalization process and for structuring the analysis. The analysis process navigates through the formalizations within each theoretical pathway. Impredicative loop analysis (ILA) is used to expose tensions and constraints generated by emerging hypercycles or clashing metabolic profiles. Finally, the results are subjected to a dialectical discussion, allowing the communication between different pathways. Dialectical discussion along the pathways is particularly useful for promoting interdisciplinary dialogue. The political ecology analysis of the case study has revealed that the higher intensity of conflicts in the late 1980s was due to a series of factors. The immediate cause was resource xii scarcity, which led to a speculative race for lands that included land grabbing strategies. The growing environmental movement in Portugal has provided the rural and peasant identities (the storytellers), with new languages that empowered their struggles. Institutional changes contributed to conflicts attenuation in the 1990s. However, a growing global consumption of paper continues to push the frontiers of industrial forestry around the world. Latin America and Eastern Europe have increased their peripheral position in the world-system of the paper industry, as suppliers of cheap pulp and land for fast-growth tree plantations. Packaging, as a main end-use of paper, can be used to hide from the consumer the impacts of production. This end-use of paper might intensify unequal ecological exchange in different areas and commodities, while being reinforced by it. In this context, conflicts might lead to a relocation of impacts, leaving the hegemony untouched.
Descrição: Dissertação apresentada para obtenção do Grau de Doutor em Ciências do Ambiente, pela Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10362/5891
Appears in Collections:FCT: DCEA - Teses de Doutoramento

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