Accepted paper:

Everyday practices of villagers and practitioners in negotiating inequality in Nepal's community forestry


Sam Staddon (University of Edinburgh)

Paper short abstract:

I explore the everyday practices of villagers in Nepal's community forestry and practitioners who work to support them, and the ways in which these intersect to negotiate inequalities. It focuses on opportunities to understand and reflect upon the importance of the everyday in development practice.

Paper long abstract:

This paper draws from on-going research which explores the everyday practices both of villagers in Nepal's community forestry and of practitioners who work to support them, and importantly the ways in which these intersect to (re)create - or potentially transform - inequalities. Inequalities in the distribution of costs and benefits arising from community forestry are most definitely created in the everyday, such as men making collective decisions about their community forest during their daily interactions, only to present that later as a 'community' decision during formal Community Forest User Group activities. Such insights are hardly new to critical scholars and there is widespread acknowledgement of such operations of power and injustice among practitioners too; the concern in this research is therefore with the everyday practices and processes of development which mean that the everyday (re)creation of inequality at the village level is seldom acknowledged or adequately accounted for in community forest interventions. The research thus considers opportunities available for learning and reflection within development practice. In an effort to understand how such practices - and thus the inequalities which they sustain - might be transformed, the research also explores 'innovative' development practices and professionals i.e. those that resist demands for 'quick', quantifiable outcomes and focus instead on processes and narratives of villagers and their everyday struggles for resource access and control.

panel A07
Creating participatory spaces and claiming citizenship in development practice