SP14: Social Transformation

Analysis of challenges and chances of social transformation for GHG-optimized land- and natural resource management strategies

The Amazonian frontier is extremely dynamic. Since more than 40 years, millions of people are migrating through the vast territory in search for access to land and natural resources. Due to insecure legal land regulation, to be a migrant turned out to be an Amazonian lifestyle. Land and natural resource use practices are influenced by the migrants’ background and at older frontiers by learning and adaptation processes (Léna/de Oliveira 1991, Kohlhepp 1994). Currently, about 22 million people live in the Brazilian Amazon (5 Mio km²) – between 60-70% in small, medium and large cities (Castro 2009).

Although the region is referred to as the Amazon, its sub-regions bear a high level of diversity in cultural and habitat characteristics, settlement patterns, economic systems and institutional settings. One common trait is: ramified memberships in clientelistic networks. The latter are necessary for survival since the formal institutional framework cannot guarantee neither legal nor livelihood security. Consequently, social innovations in patterns of income generation depend not only on natural endowments but also on the existence of change agents and conducive legislation.

Throughout the region social interactions are always a blend of international and local actors, institutions and approaches. Since almost 20 years, the Brazilian Amazon is deeply involved in the process of globalization, which has been speeding up since about 10 years due to the wide distribution and use of the internet.

The implementation and enforcement of environmental policies or, in the future of GHG-relevant management strategies depend on the sound knowledge of those specificities. Whether carbiocial will generate a substantial contribution towards the understanding of the dynamics of land- and natural resource-use patterns between the different regions and localities and of possible formal and informal GHG-relevant regulative opportunities will depend on the integration of the existing fragmented and the newly generated multidisciplinary knowledge.

This sub-project aims to analyze the challenges and chances of social transformation for carbon-optimized land- and natural resource management strategies. As concrete result, the project expects to offer a methodology how to detect the entry points for GHG-relevant policy interventions within the socio-political structure of any Amazonian sub-region.
The cognitive interest concentrates on the identification of the social space and of emerging forms of political representation necessary for the formulation and implementation of innovative and GHG relevant management strategies for land and natural resources.

To be able to do so the deep analysis of stakeholders will be complemented by the appraisal of recent legislation on land tenure ship and the tracing and analysis of innovative local and regional approaches. To tackle this task, the project chose an interdisciplinary project-design of Sociology/Political Sciences, Law and Anthropology.
The following three issues are envisioned as core areas of this research project:

    • Potential of change agents: deep stakeholder-analysis on the local, regional, national and international level to identify actor-constellations for implementation of carbon-optimized land- and natural resource management strategies.
    • Impact of recently introduced legal regulation and legal institutions concerning land- and natural resource management on ongoing processes of social transformation, namely land-markets and accompanying interest representation.
    • Identification of culturally diverse knowledge technologies and social innovations for land- and natural resource management: analysis of prospective lifestyles, indigenous and further local proposals for adaptation and mitigation of climate change impacts. Conjointly we address to the following objectives: What do we need to know about the respective Amazonian society to find a common ground for the production of multidisciplinary knowledge on the interdependencies of land and natural resource management that will be relevant for policy formulation and viable for implementation? How could profound knowledge on processes of social transformation be channeled towards a well embedded design of land and natural resource management strategies?

Please see also the Poster of SP 14 presented at the Kick-Off Workshop in Cuiabá, Brazil, 6-9 July 2011

Project Members
Dr. Regine Schönenberg
Prof. Dr. Sérgio Costa
Institute for Latin American Studies (LAI), Free University Berlin

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