Asiyanbi, A.P., Ogar, E., Akintoye, O.A. Complexities and surprises in local resistance to neoliberal conservation: Multiple environmentalities, technologies of the self and the poststructural geography of local engagement with REDD+
(2019) Political Geography, 69, pp. 128-138.
Actual local engagement with neoliberal conservation is remarkably complex and dynamic. This article advances a poststructural geographical understanding of this complexity by focusing on the spatiotemporally articulated rationalities and strategies of local communities in their encounter with Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation ‘Plus’ (REDD+), a form of neoliberal conservation. We integrate literature on ‘technologies of resistance’ and ‘multiple environmentalities’ retracing the progressive development of the subject of power in Michel Foucault’s work in order to conceptualise local engagement with neoliberal conservation in terms of community ‘technologies of the self’. Developed in Foucault’s later works, the notion of technologies of the self places the strategies of the governed at the centre of analysis, while attending to their diverse and creative comportments. We develop this empirically through a detailed ethnographic investigation of community engagement with REDD+ in Nigeria. We show how the project proponents’ efforts to produce Ekuri forest community as a ‘model REDD + community’ clash with this community’s technologies of the self which have evolved dynamically through historically-sedimented values, practices, relations and struggles. Ekuri’s technologies are at once, traditional and modern in their ethos; local and global in their spatial articulations. They manifest in Ekuri’s contestation of the failing promises of REDD+, the moral burden of its assumptions about local deforestation and its restriction on community development. Yet, this community would surprisingly align with REDD+ and the global carbon forestry regime to challenge the state’s appropriation of community forest land for infrastructural development. We highlight four key moments of community technologies through their corresponding provisional subjectivities: the subject of hope, the moral subject, the unruly subject and the mobilising subject. We reflect on the wider implications of our poststructural geographical analysis for understanding local engagement with neoliberal conservation. © 2018 Elsevier Ltd
Multiple environmentalities; Neoliberal conservation; Nigeria; REDD+; Resistance; Technologies of the self