Category Archives: Lecture

Lecture by Violeta Gutiérrez Zamora | Biopolitics in Community Forestry: Indigenous Peoples, Women’s Bodies and Forest

Date: Thursday 2 May, 12:30-13:30 | Location: Leeuwenborch C68

Violeta is a Mexican sociologist, living and working in Helsinki and Joensuu, Finland. She works as an early stage researcher at the University of Eastern Finland (UEF) and is currently writing her doctoral dissertation based on the project: Power, Conflict, and Collaboration in Community Forestry: The case of Oaxaca, Mexico (CoForMex). In this project, she brings insights from feminist and decolonial political ecology and ethnographic research to bear on community forestry and territorial forms of environmental governmentality in Mexico. Violeta is a founding member of the Research Group Environment, Society and Development in Latin America (ESDLA) at the Department of Geographical and Historical Studies at UEF. She holds a Masters of Social Sciences Degree from the University of Helsinki and a Bachelor’s Degree (Licenciatura) in Sociology from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Violeta has also been activist for human rights in grassroots organizations like Sin Fronteras I.A.P in Mexico, Maanvoima Collective and more recently with Somos La Colectiva in Finland.

This presentation aims to understand the dynamics of both protecting and abandoning specific forms of non-human and human life (based on race and gender) through their inclusion or exclusion in community-based forest management and in what way such dynamics are displayed on socio-territorial conflicts. Through the understanding of biopower as a technique of governing in community-based forestry, this paper discusses the process of subjectivation via the insertion of the knowledge and bodies of indigenous peoples in general and indigenous women in particular into disciplining practices to reproduce specific forms of “productive life” and with the aim of securing them. At the same time, despite the subjectivization of indigenous peoples, as holders of right over forests, the socio-territorial conflicts between communities reveal the state control over populations and “making them live or letting them die”


Lecture by Earl Harper | Gentrify or Die: The False Choice Facing (some) North-Western European Cities

Date: Tuesday 7 May, 12:30-13:30 | Location: Leeuwenborch C83

Earl is currently in the final year of his doctoral study at the University of Bristol (UK). He obtained a BSc in Environmental Science before switching to social science for his MSc in Environmental Governance, both at the University of Manchester (UK). Earl has a forthcoming paper in the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research based on his thesis and is Editing a Routledge Environmental Humanities Series book on ‘Apocalyptic Imaginaries in the Anthropocene’. Earl will be visiting WUR with the Sociology of Development & Change Group until July 2019.

The presentation – based on my current doctoral research at The University of Bristol – will explore how, in recent years, gentrification has found a new driving force: climate change. Using examples from European cities, and current research on ecological gentrification, the presentation demonstrates how in London, Manchester and Amsterdam, climate change has become part of the justification regime for gentrification projects. These projects, advertised as ‘eco-housing’, ’sustainable urban centres’ or ‘low-carbon living’ have been welcomed to the urbanscape by city-planners, especially in global cities like London, Amsterdam, New York and Seattle as examples of how the city can and should be in the future. It is the argument of this presentation, though, that beneath the sustainable exterior, the same socio-economic and socio-environmental inequalities present in traditional modes of gentrification are reproduced. The consequences of narratives of apocalyptic climate change being used to justify gentrification are two-fold: (1) as levels of affluence in a geographic area increase, so does consumption and (2) as the projects become more ubiquitous globally, an immunological fantasy is established where residents are sold a feeling of immunisation against the climate apocalypse. Finally, the paper concludes with a call for study to explore whether, similarly to the Urbanisation of Nature, cities are also a particular moment in the urbanisation of the apocalypse.