STREAM: Precarious prospects: corridors, grabs and extractions at the pastoral margins

STREAM: Precarious prospects: corridors, grabs and extractions at the pastoral margins

Photo credit: Evans Otieno (evanstieno@gmail.com);  http://www.startuplions.org/?page_id=34

This stream invites contributions on the drivers, implications and outcomes of large-scale investments in infrastructure, land and resources in pastoralist areas. Long neglected by states and global capital, a wave of investment over the past decade in these areas has generated a new spatial politics. Ports, pipelines, roads, wind farms and plantations are all linked in grand modernist visions. These are often seen somewhat benignly, as part of wider commercialisation and growth dynamics, and even a precursor to peacebuilding and the creation of ‘resilient’ livelihoods. Many powerful actors are involved, from international corporates to states and local elites, but important questions are raised about who benefits and who loses out, and whether such large-scale projects do indeed deliver poverty-reducing development as is often claimed. Panels in this stream will explore, theoretically and empirically, the intersection between recent large-scale investments and local politics and livelihoods at the pastoral margins.

Examples of panel themes and questions:

  1. Grand visions meet local extraversion: theorising spatial politics, governance and the state in large-scale development at the margins
  • How are corridors, extractions and land investments connected to state control, securitisation and the exercise of power at the margins?
  • Who frames the meaning, interpretation and pursuit of large investments in infrastructure, land and resources in pastoral areas? How do investments map onto understandings of state formation, shifts in the global political economy and different responses at scale?
  • How do narratives of transformation and attempts to secure wide political support for these projects compare to the distribution of investments and benefits?

 

  1. The political economy of corridors, commercialisation and pastoralism
  • How do corridors relate to the remaking of pastoral economies and livestock commercialisation? What new market relations are emerging – formal and informal – in such areas, with what forms of political-bureaucratic contestation over taxes, transport routes and border crossings?
  • How do different actors – governments, local elites, private sector, aid programmes, army or police, or religious, armed insurgent or extremist groups – interact with livestock commercialisation (at different scales), and through what means?
  • What types of resistance, mobilisation, subversion and forms of ‘contentious politics’ are evident around corridor investments? What does this reveal about changing state-elite-capital alliances around development efforts?

 

  1. Turbines, pipelines and pastures: politics and pastoralism in new extractive and green energy developments
  • How do ‘extractive’ projects situate themselves within narratives of growth, transformation and ‘development’ of agro-ecosystems, livelihood strategies, and local economies?
  • How are ‘enclaves’ of investment (in oil, gas, ‘green energy’ etc.) in pastoral areas generating wider impacts, and who loses and wins from these processes?

 

Confirmed Panels 

PANEL 1: Future-making at the margins: frontiers and violence in East Africa

Chair: Clemens Greiner (University of Cologne, Köln, Germany)

This panel revisits the concept of the frontier to investigate the role of violence in current processes of change in East Africa. The notion of the frontier offers itself to explore how visions of the future are inscribed in space, especially regarding the transformation of rural areas, which are seen as marginal from the perspective of state control and economic penetration. The panel addresses the mutual relationship between frontiers, territorialization, future-making, and violence. Key questions to be addressed by contributions to the panel are: In which way are visions of desirable or feasible futures connected to spatial imaginations of frontiers? How do these visions translate into spatial transformations? Which agencies and what formations and processes of violence emerge along the frontiers?

  • Converging frontiers: Negotiating access to land and resources in Baringo, Kenya, Greiner, Clemens,  (University of Cologne, Köln, Germany)
  • Violent Futures Along the Frontiers: Conservancies, Land Claims and Security in Kenya”, Agade, Kennedy, (United States International University – Africa, Nairobi, Kenya) and Kioko, Eric, M., (Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya)”
  • Conquering the margins: corridors, frontiers and violence in East Africa, Müller-Mahn, Detlef, (University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany) and Schetter, Conrad, (Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC), Bonn, Germany)”
  • Shifting conflict configurations in the lowland frontier territories of Ethiopia, Rettberg, Simone, (University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany)

Panel 2: Turbines, Pipelines and Pastures: Politics and Pastoralism in new Extractive and Green Energy Developments

Convenor: Jeremy Lind (Institute of Development Studies, Brighton, United Kingdom)

An array of large-scale extractive and green energy developments including oil extraction, wind, geo-thermal and hydroelectric power, have unfolded across pastoral East Africa over the past fifteen years. These new large-scale investments are happening in places where governance has often been the preserve of hybrid arrangements that centrally involve locally trusted institutions. Large extractive and green energy development at the rural margins, the political and economic interests that are driving these, and the new valuing of resources they introduce invariably reshape politics and conflict in different places. National governments and investors often view contestations around extractive and green energy development as localised disturbance that can be contained through the provision of more security, corporate social investment, and deals that incentivise local acceptance. Yet, seen from the margins, struggles around the framing and meanings given to oil, wind, land and water are the crux of many contestations. Key questions explored in this panel are: How do ‘extractive’ projects situate themselves within narratives of growth, transformation and ‘development’ of agro-ecosystems, livelihood strategies, and local economies? How do investments map onto understandings of state formation, shifts in the global political economy and different responses at scale? How are ‘enclaves’ of investment (in oil, gas, ‘green energy’ etc.) in pastoral areas generating wider impacts, and who loses and wins from these processes?

  • Taking off Against the Wind: the impact of the Wind Mega-Project on Inclusive Development in Kenya, Kazimierczuk, Agnieszka, (African Studies Centre Leiden University, Leiden, Netherlands)
  • Beneficiaries, Victims, and ‘Affected Communities’: Local Narratives of International Interventions in Turkana, Kenya, Rodgers, Cory, (Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom) and Semplici, Greta, (Department of International Development, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom)”
  • Changing relationships between communities, the state, and the Lake Turkana Wind Power Project: a story of alliances, divisions and violence in Kenya’s northern margins, Drew, James, (University of Sussex, Brighton, United Kingdom)
  • Enacting “Host Communities”: The Politics of Identity, Proximity and Participation in Kenya’s Oil Frontier- Turkana County, (London School of Economics and Political Science LSE, London, United Kingdom)

Panel 3: The New Politics of Land Investment in Pastoral Areas

Chairs: Ian Scoones/Jeremy Lind (Institute of Development Studies, Brighton, United Kingdom)

Following the finance, food and fuel crises of the late 2000s there was a wave of ‘land grabbing’ across Africa, much of it focused in dry, marginal pastoral areas, seen to be underutilised and in need of investment. The focus of the debate then was on foreign investors and the potential for large-scale dispossession. A decade on the large-scale investments and mass expropriations have by-and-large not materialised as challenges of implementation overwhelmed many projects. But the focus on the commercialisation of land has had other consequences as land speculation by local elites, private companies and others has affected pastoral economies in important ways. The drive for investment in pastoral areas has a long history, from irrigation schemes to livestock marketing projects. The reconfiguration of land ownership and use, while perhaps not as dramatic as the ‘land grabbing’ debate feared, has been profound, creating a new politics of land and investment in the pastoral regions of East Africa. This panel will explore these processes through cases from Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia, examining how patterns of elite accumulation intersects with changing land politics in each case.

  • Transferring Wealth from the Poor to the Rich: Livestock Commercialization in Pastoral Areas of Ethiopia, Gebresenbet, Fana, (Institute for Peace and Security Studies, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)
  • Investigating resilient development narratives in a public-private partnership for large-scale agro-investment in Tanzania, Engström, Linda, (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden)
  • Twilight institutions: ambiguities of land buying companies in Laikipia, Kenya, Gravesen, Marie, Ladekjær, (Department of Cultural and Social Anthropology, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany)
  • The Political Ecology of Irrigation Development: A case from the lower Turkwel River basin, Turkana County, Kenya, Akall, (Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom)

Panel 4: Corridor Making as State Making in Pastoral East Africa

Chair: Tobias Hagmann (Roskilde University, Roskilde, Denmark)

This panel considers ongoing initiatives to further or formalize trade and transport corridors in pastoral lowlands in Eastern Africa from the particular vantage point of state formation dynamics. Multiple temporal, spatial and political dynamics mark the current management, incorporation or scaling up of economic hubs and flows in the drylands. The rapid reterritorialization that results from these trends highlights the nexus between corridor making and state making as two different, yet interconnected enterprises that reassemble local resources, national rules and global capital. Positing that space and political orders are intertwined and co-produced, presenters in this panel look at competing circulation projects in the Berbera corridor that connects eastern Ethiopia with the self-declared Somaliland Republic, land rush and property claims in the context of an urban frontier in northern Kenya, as well as recurrent patterns of state formation – and its nexus with economic corridors and mercantile elites – across Somali East Africa.

  • Anticipating value at the gateway to Kenya’s ’new frontier’, Elliott, Hannah, (University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark)
  • Politics of circulation: the makings of the Berbera corridor in Somali East Africa, Stepputat, Finn, (Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS), Copenhagen, Denmark)
  • Corridor making as state-making: emerging theories on the economics of state formation in Somali East Africa, Hagmann, Tobias (Roskilde University, Roskilde, Denmark)

Panel 5: The Political Economy of Corridors, Commercialisation and Pastoralism

Chair: Ian Scoones (Institute of Development Studies, Brighton, United Kingdom)

This panel will be in two parts: first a pair of papers exploring the political economy of corridor investments, and second, a panel discussion on themes discussed throughout the stream

Part 1: Corridors

A number of commercial corridors have been proposed or are being developed along Africa’s eastern seaboard, from Djibouti and Somalia to Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique. A network of actors come together around corridors, and include corporate players, government officials, local elites and often relatively elite, often male, livestock traders able to engage in such markets. This creates opportunities for accumulation, but also patronage, and social differentiation. Of particular interest in our panel will be an exploration of the processes of change that emerge from such investments, tracing the winners and losers. Key questions that will be addressed in this panel include: How do corridors relate to the remaking of pastoral economies and livestock commercialisation? What new market relations are emerging – formal and informal – in such areas, with what forms of political-bureaucratic contestation over taxes, transport routes and border crossings? How do different actors – governments, local elites, private sector, aid programmes, army or police, or religious, armed insurgent or extremist groups – interact with livestock commercialisation (at different scales), and through what means? What types of resistance, mobilisation, subversion and forms of ‘contentious politics’ are evident around corridor investments? What does this reveal about changing state-elite-capital alliances around development efforts?

  • Complex Frontiers: State Visions and Local Responses in Kenya’s LAPSSET project, evidence from Lamu County., Chome, Ngala, (Durham University, Durham City, United Kingdom)
  • High Modernism, Extraversion & Conflict at the Frontier: Ethiopian Developmental Ideology in a State of Emergency, Mosley, Jason, (African Studies Centre, Oxford University, Oxford, United Kingdom)

Part 2: Final panel discussion reflecting on the whole stream: Critical Reflections on Corridors, Grabs and Extractions at the Pastoral Margins

Panel participants to include: Hannah Elliot, Doris Okenwa, Tobias Hagmann, Fana Gebresenbet, Simone Rettberg, Kennedy Agade Mkutu and Jeremy Lind (Brief reflections on key themes, research challenges, followed by open discussion)

If you have any queries or suggestions please contact Jeremy Lind (J.Lind@ids.ac.uk); Ian Scoones (I.Scoones@ids.ac.uk). For panel and paper submissions please follow the instructions on the website  http://www.asauk.net/call-for-papers-and-panels-asauk-2018-now-open/ 

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