Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Nepomuceno, Í., Affonso, H., Fraser, J.A., Torres, M.
Counter-conducts and the green grab: Forest peoples’ resistance to industrial resource extraction in the Saracá-Taquera National Forest, Brazilian Amazonia
(2019) Global Environmental Change, 56, pp. 124-133.

DOI: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2019.04.004

This paper contributes to the theory of environmentality – the ‘conduct of conduct’ with regard to the environment – by incorporating Foucault’s notion of counter-conducts to elucidate the political subjectivities emergent from the performance of dissent in relation to different forms of power – sovereign, disciplinary and biopower – through which a spatialized rational-technical governmentality of ‘green’ mining and logging is enacted in Saracá-Taquera National Forest (FLONA), Brazilian Amazonia. We analyse the counter-conductive subjectivities emergent from forest peoples’ political articulation through identity categories riberinhos and quilombolas (enshrined in the 1988 Constitution and subsequent laws), claiming of rights to delimit areas of traditional use and ancestral territories, along with direct action, critical discourse and reassertion of agroecological knowledge against industrial resource extraction. To capture the dynamic relation of the conduct of conduct to counter-conducts we draw on a late Foucauldian model of a self, wherein his earlier focus on how the Panopticon shapes self-discipline is complemented by a turn to care for and ethics of the self – practices of freedom through which subjects have the potential to transcend self-discipline. We use this lens to illuminate two case-studies, one focusing on mining, the other on timber, exploring how in this protected area – which permits the ‘sustainable’ industrial extraction of natural resources – the state, companies and an NGO try to shape forest peoples as ‘green’ subjects. Counter-conducts provide the theory of environmentality with a broader perspective on resistance foregrounding the production of political subjectivities in dissent whilst breaking with the resistance-domination binary. © 2019 Elsevier Ltd

Author Keywords
Biopolitics; Environmentality; Foucault; Governmentality; Rights

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