Development interventions both vivifying and mortiferous: replacement, ruination and revitalisation in ecological and cultural systems

Gregory Acciaioli (University of Western Australia)
Greg Acciaioli
Richard Vokes
Session slots:

Short abstract:

Development interventions introducing new organisms, technologies, and understandings can be both life-giving and death-dealing in their impacts upon cultural and ecological systems, as well as spawning reactions revitalising moribund practices, prehensions, products and potentialities.

Long abstract:

Development has held the promise of enhancing the life prospects of peoples whose living conditions have been judged by governments, bilateral agencies and multilateral organisations as substandard. One developmental strategy has been the introduction of new forms of life (varieties, species) and modes of cultivating/exploiting/marketing them to intensify production and produce new livelihoods. However, such introductions have also brought about the death of endemic species, traditional crop varieties, and other local forms of life, livelihood, and understanding. This panel seeks papers that analyse the social and ecological consequences of such introductions in fishing (e.g. aquafarming of introduced fish and other marine/riverine/lacustrine products such as shrimp and seaweed), agriculture (e.g. miracle rice varieties and the new inputs they require, cash crops such as rubber, oil palm, cocoa, and others), infrastructure (e.g. housing types), technology (e.g. harvesting and transport machinery and marketing channels) and other sectors and domains. Papers may concentrate not only on the trajectory of impacts and the transformations they have effected, both life-giving and death-dealing, but also upon how the impacts of such innovations have also resulted in revitalisation and retraditionalisation of objects (e.g. rice varieties), institutions and usages (e.g. the rise of community resource management, food sovereignty, heritagisation, tangible and intangible, of products and practices), as well as the more encompassing transformation of cultural context these and analogous reactions imply. Papers are invited that cover any context experiencing such dynamics, whether rural or urban, local, regional or global.