The ubiquitous use of artworks (e.g., paintings, music, films) in environmental activism has been shown to trigger specific cognitive processes as well as changes in personal values and behaviours. There is less understanding of whether (or how) gender-differentiated environmental claims and gender-transformative initiatives are voiced and promoted through art and cultural expressions. Using network analysis, this paper comprehensively reviews ninety-eight years of peer-reviewed literature on gender and environmental activism. We identify six avenues of gendered artistic activism (or ‘artivism’) on environmental issues that communities have pursued in the past. We present a non-prescriptive description of each avenue based on key references in the literature. A gendered lens on artistic activism makes visible the power of different groups to act, be they women, men, LGBTQ or other collectives, their chosen (or available) scopes of creative action when engaging with environmental protection and their thematic foci. A highlight of the study is the significant presence of younger demographics, including children and students in environmental artivism. Finally, we discuss how gendered artivism expands our understanding of environmental action, putting our results in conversation with well-known current environmentalism(s).
23 Developing decision-relevant science for adaptation requires the identification of climatic parameters that are both actionable for practitioners as well as tractable for modelers. In many sectors, these decision-relevant climatic metrics and the approaches that enable their identification remain largely unknown. “Co-production” of science with
27 scientists and decision-makers is one potential way to identify these metrics, but there is little research describing specific and successful co-production approaches. This paper examines the negotiations and outcomes from Project Hyperion, wherein scientists and water managers jointly developed decision-relevant climatic metrics for adaptive water management. We identify successful co-production strategies by analyzing the project’s numerous back-and-forth engagements and tracing the evolution of the science during these engagements. We found that effective mediation between scientists and managers needed dedicated “boundary spanners” with significant modeling expertise. Translating practitioners’ information needs into tractable climatic metrics required direct and indirect methods of eliciting knowledge. We identified four indirect methods that were particularly salient for extracting tacitly-held knowledge and enabling shared learning: developing a hierarchical framework linking management issues with metrics; starting discussions from the planning challenges; collaboratively exploring the planning relevance of new scientific capabilities; and using analogies of other ‘good’ metrics. The decision-relevant metrics we developed provide insights into advancing adaptation-relevant climate science in the water sector. The co-production strategies we identified can be used to design and implement productive scientist decision-maker interactions. Overall, the approaches and metrics we developed can help climate science to expand in new and more use-inspired directions.
Communities reliant on subsistence and small-scale production are typically more vulnerable than others to disasters such as earthquakes. We study the earthquakes that struck Nepal in the spring of 2015 to investigate their impacts on smallholder communities and the diverse trajectories of recovery at the household and community levels. We focus on the first year following the earthquakes because this is when households were still devastated, yet beginning to recover and adapt. Through survey questionnaires, focus group discussions, open-ended interviews, and observations at public meetings we analyze physical impacts to farming systems and cropping cycles. We investigate respondent reports of loss and recovery through a new social-ecological recovery assessment instrument and find that diversification of livelihoods and access to common resources, alongside robust community institutions, were critical components of coping and recovery. There was widespread damage to subsistence farming infrastructure, which potentially accelerated ongoing transitions to cash crop adoption. We also find that perceptions of recovery varied widely among and within the typical predictors of recovery, such as caste and farm size, in sometimes unexpected ways. Although postdisaster recovery has material and psychosocial dimensions, our work shows that these may not change in the same direction.
Development plans with insufficient knowledge about local realities, and that do not share technical or planning details with the target communities, bedevil development practice. This study used a form of participatory modelling in three fishing communities in Nicaragua to enable fishers to explore their economy and the potential impacts of fishery-based development projects. Co-designing a model of the fishing economy in the form of a board game created a forum in which facilitators and participants could arrive at a shared understanding of local fishing practices and the costs and benefits of strategies for addressing the fishers’ priorities.
Environmental disasters, such as hurricanes, landslides, and earthquakes, are pervasive and disproportionately affect rural and poor populations. The concept of resilience is typically used in disaster scenarios to describe how a community or person is able to “bounce back” from a disaster event. At the same time, resilience theory also contends that disasters, or environmental shocks, can produce or initiate profound changes in social and ecological systems. This case uses a post-disaster resilience assessment to examine how the series of earthquakes that hit central Nepal in 2015 impacted farming communities. Mid-montane smallholder farming communities near the epicenters of the earthquakes were the most affected and the associated damages impeded traditional and subsistence agricultural practices. Our results show how some aspects of the Nepali farming social–ecological system (SES) bounced back more quickly than others and how farmers used various types of coping strategies, including the adoption of labor-saving cash crops as part of their post-disaster recovery. The increased interest in cash crops after the earthquake accelerates an ongoing transition toward more market activities in subsistence communities and illustrates the potential of environmental shocks to transform and change SESs.
This paper develops an agenda for investing in sustainable development, with particular emphasis on local priorities, poverty alleviation and gender equality.
Sustainable development can take many different pathways, even within the dominant ‘three-pillar’ paradigm (economy-environment-society) of sustainability. The paper thus argues that any sustainable development pathway must include an explicit commitment to gender equality in both its conceptualization and implementation. It highlights four ‘mundane’ sectors in which investments at scale could be potentially transformative and should therefore be substantially increased: domestic water, safe sanitation, clean(er)-burning cookstoves, and domestic electricity services.
This paper was produced for UN Women’s flagship report the World Survey on the Role of Women in Development 2014: Gender and Sustainable Development. It is now also released as part of the UN Women discussion paper series.
Information Technologies and Economic Capital Since the 2004 publication of C. K. Prahalad’s remarkably influential The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits, the term “BoP” has become commonplace among development practitioners and corporations. This work argued that, rather than relying upon inefficient governments to provide the poor (i.e., the BoP) with necessary goods and services, the for-profit sector, and especially multinational companies, could play a central role in creating demand and supplying low-cost goods (Prahalad, 2004). “The BoP” entered development discourse and practice at about the same time that information and communication technologies for development, or ICTD, rose to prominence as a key tool of poverty alleviation (Prahalad & Hammond, 2001). By the turn of the millennium, corporations and other private actors had joined the poverty alleviation “business”–not as a by-product of their operations, but as an explicit part of it. These institutions, along with traditional international development organizations, converged upon the idea that philanthropy and profitability are not in opposition, and that the private sector can serve the world’s poor efficiently through high-quality, low-cost products and ICT-enabled services (Hart, 2005). Thus, ICTs “for” D emerged in a joint environment of technological optimism, win-win aspirations of all stakeholders in the feld of development, and a strong reliance on sustainable business models (Gurumurthy, 2010; see also Kuriyan, Nafus, & Mainwaring, this issue; Ilahiane & Sherry, this issue). More recently, Porter and Kramer’s (2011) concept of shared value points to the opportunities that arise from serving disadvantaged communities and developing countries. Reminiscent of Prahalad, they argue that re-conceiving products and markets to address societal concerns can yield benefits to the private sector (ibid.). Research on whether, or how, the principles of development-as-business actually work for the poor has yielded mixed findings. On the one hand, several studies from Asia and Africa have reported economic and social benefits of access to information technologies (Arunachalam, 2002; Donner, 2007; Hughes & Lonie, 2007). Yet, as Gillwald points out in the pages of this journal: “There is little non-anecdotal evidence in Africa linking communications sector policy reforms … and lower costs of communications … to poverty alleviation” (2010, p. 80). Overall, case studies on the impact of cell phone ownership and usage among the poor, or at least among the near-poor, have been positive (Donner, 2007; Jensen, 2007), whereas those on the impact of community-based computer kiosks or telecenters have mainly been discouraging (e.g. Kuriyan, Ray, &Toyama, 2008). Recent work has further revealed that low-income individuals may use ICTs in conventional ways, but these ICTs are also key sites of innovation with, and re-purposing of, these technologies (e.g., Heeks, 2009; Maurer, in press). The four articles presented here seek to increase our understanding of poverty and profits in the age of technology-meets-development-meets-business. All four articles use ethnographic methods, sharing the ethnographer’s attention to both the intended and the unintended, and to both the spoken and the strategically unsaid. They cover four broad stakeholder groups: the consumer, the local entrepreneur, the ICTD…
This paper examines how changes in aspirations among the poor should be understood in the context of ICTD interventions. We argue that aspirations associated with ICTs (or with other interventions) can be seen as interim indicators of development when, and only when, these aspirations stem from enhanced human capabilities rather than simply from stated or distant desires. This entails understanding if and how ICTs and ICT-enabled services open up pathways by which the aspirations of the poor can potentially be actualized.
This paper examines public–private partnerships (PPPs) for development through the example of telecenters in two Indian states. How might a developmental state position itself with respect to civil society under a PPP model of service delivery? We find that each state’s political economy is reflected in its PPP strategy, but that in both states the emerging middle classes rather than the poor benefit most from ongoing telecenter projects. Outsourcing development services to private entities need not “privatize” the state but does alter the way in which citizens “see” the state. Service delivery through telecenters becomes a symbol of government efficiency and responsiveness.
The Contested Commons explores the theme of common environmental resources from the dual perspectives of economics and anthropology, with a focus on developing countries
The currently influential model for information and communication technologies for development (ICT4D) is based on increasing the well-being of the poor through market-based solutions, and by using low-cost but advanced technologies. Using ethnographic methods, we chart out the contradictions that could arise when such a development-through-entrepreneurship model is implemented. We examine the Akshaya project, a franchise of computer-service kiosks in Kerala, India, which strives simultaneously for social development through access to computers and financial viability through cost recovery and entrepreneurship. We show that tensions within the state and among entrepreneurs and perceptions of public versus private among consumers make it challenging to meet the twin goals of commercial profitability and social development.
The premise of this article is that outcomes of economic models and process analyses of anthropology are both essential for understanding social phenomena, including those surrounding the commons. An explanation of any model outcome is invariably about process and structure—the outcomes of several models are compatible with many different causal processes. Anthropologists also pay equal attention to exclusions and inclusions, to the said as well as the unsaid. In that spirit, one must ask if models of resource management that are silent on, for example, influence or the desire for dignity implicitly suggest that these factors are less important to cooperation than economic and ecological factors. This article argues that policy advice has to take into account the explicit findings of a model as well as its silences. Finally, anthropologists are critical of economic models for their simplicity and allegedly obvious outcomes. But models of common‐pool resources can and do provide anthropologists with points of departure for their own research. Additionally, models can surprise us with counterintuitive results, especially with respect to emergent phenomena. Such results should be an invitation to anthropologists to investigate new social processes that were hitherto not anticipated.
In this essay we argue that the key barriers to interdisciplinary work between economists and anthropologists are differences of methodology and epistemology—in what the two disciplines consider important to explain and how they evaluate the criteria for a good explanation. The essay is an introduction to three articles, on economics, anthropology, and the question of the commons, that illustrate some of these differences and that suggest both the potential and the pitfalls of trying to bridge these methodological gaps. Our goal is not somehow to resolve the differences. Rather, we are motivated by the belief that understanding what is important to the other discipline, and seeing the differences in the light of that understanding, is important for interdisciplinary work and for respectful conversation. We have highlighted three dichotomies that are emblematic of some of these differences: autonomy versus embeddedness, outcomes versus processes, and parsimony versus complexity. We hope that our discussion leads economists and anthropologists to reexamine the assumptions and modes of analysis that prevail within the disciplines and to open up new conversations in new directions.