5.2: Resource Politics

Building on the accounts of sustainability inspired by the Pathways Approach, this section explores the political nature of natural resource management.

We start with an introduction to the issue of resource politics, and then explore it in detail, in relation to the financialisation of nature, land water and green grabs, enclosures and dispossession.

As international policy processes increasingly look to market-based mechanisms to deliver against broader sustainability goals, this part of the course provides an essential point of departure for a more critical reading of these processes and their distributional implications. It critically engages with concepts such as the resource ‘nexus’, aiming to open up a political interrogation of resource issues.

Essential reading

  1. Allouche, J., Middleton, C., & Gyawali, D. (2015). Introduction to Special Issue: Technical Veil, Hidden Politics: Interrogating the Power Linkages behind the Nexus. Water Alternatives, 8(1), 610-626 (OA)
  2. Mehta, L., Veldwisch, G. J., and Franco, J. (2012) Introduction to Special Issue: Water grabbing? Focus on the (re)appropriation of finite water resources. Water Alternatives, 5(2): 193-207 (OA)

Questions to consider while reading and watching the lectures

  1. In what way is natural resource management political?
  2. What is meant by 'the financialisation of nature'?
  3. How is financialisation of nature being used in international policy processes? Why is this problematic?
  4. What is distinct about contemporary grabbing processes?
  5. How would you theorise land/water/green grabbing?

Lecture 1: Resource Politics

Lecture 2: Resource Politics and the Financialisation of Nature

Lecture 3: Land & water grabs, enclosures and dispossession

Additional reading and videos

Assessment questions

  1. Do you agree with the notion that water grabbing is more ‘slippery’ than land grabbing? Why?
  2. In what ways does a political reading of natural resource management intersect with the core ideas of the Pathways Approach?
  3. Discuss the implications of the “the financialisation of nature” with reference to either contemporary international climate change or biodiversity policy.

Last modified: Thursday, 2 February 2017, 2:53 PM