Tag Archives: seminar

Lecture by prof. Lawrence D. Berg | Producing anxiety in the neoliberal university

Wednesday 17 April, 15:30 – 17:00, Gaia 1, Gaia building, Droevendaalsesteeg 3, Building 101, 6708 PB Wageningen,

This talk presents a theoretical analysis of the neoliberal production of anxiety in academic faculty members in universities in Northern Europe. The presentation focuses on neoliberalization as it is instantiated through audit and ranking systems designed to produce academia as a space of economic efficiency and intensifying competition. We suggest that powerful forms of competition and ranking of academic performance have been developed in Northern Europe. These systems are differentiated and differentiating, and they serve to both index and facilitate the neoliberalization of the academy. Their impact is intensified by the existence of what Guy Debord identified as “the falling rate of use values”. Moreover, these audit and ranking systems produce an ongoing sense of anxiety among academic workers. I argue that neoliberalism in the academy is part of a wider system of anxiety production arising as part of the so-called “soft governance” of everything, including life itself, in contemporary late liberalism.

CSPS Research Seminar: Tourist and resident perspectives on ‘SLUM TOURISM’: the case of the Vilakazi precinct (Soweto), by Prof. Gijsbert Hoogendoorn

Tuesday 4 December, 12:00 – 13:00

Leeuwenborch C62

Tourist and resident perspectives on ‘SLUM TOURISM’: the case of the Vilakazi precinct (Soweto)
Prof. Gijsbert Hoogendoorn

Slum tourism as a topic of investigation has seen significant growth since the beginning of this decade with increasing theoretical and empirical depth. With this growth, some inconsistencies in terms of conceptual framing and use of terminology has emerged. The purpose of this paper is to argue against the inaccurate use of the term ‘slum tourism’ for township tourism in South Africa. This argument is presented through two sections of analysis and debate using Vilakazi precinct in Orlando West, Soweto, as a case study. Firstly, the paper analyses the emergence of township tourism as an academic focus in the literature and how it came to be classified as slum tourism, considering definitional conundrums. Secondly, the empirical data offer the perspectives of 1) residents, who live in and around Vilakazi street, on tourism in their area; and 2) tourists visiting the Vilakazi precinct. The analysis reveals that neither residents nor visitors consider the Vilakazi precinct and the larger area of Orlando West as a slum. The term slum tourism to describe township tourism in Soweto, is therefore inaccurate and inconsistent with the views of residents and visitors.

Prof. Gijsbert Hoogendoorn is an Associate Professor and Head at the Department of Geography, Environmental Management and Energy Studies, University of Johannesburg, South Africa. His primary research interests are around second homes tourism, climate change and tourism and city tourism.

CSPS Research Seminar: Towards a New Institutional Political Ecology (NIPE)

Tuesday 5 November, 12:30-13:30

Leeuwenborch C0083

Towards a New Institutional Political Ecology (NIPE)

Tobias Haller

Most commons studies include an institutional analysis that is often related to the work of Elinor Ostrom’s newer but also to so-called older institutional approaches. It is argued by Olivier de Sardan that the new and the old approaches differ considerably: The former is related more to the issue of economic efficiency focussing on the gain in reducing transaction costs, which institutions provide via coordination enabling to solve collective action dilemmas. The latter frames actors as rather being embedded in their socio-economic and political environment and uses a broader political economy framework, addressing issues of power relations between actors. As commons studies refer to issues of sustainable use of common pool resources, this book project proposes to have a closer look on how to bridge gaps between a more economic oriented and a more political oriented model in environmental studies. Therefore, this paper suggests to use a social anthropological version of New Institutionalism developed by Ensminger, which includes discussions on bargaining power of actors but as well on ideology (discourses and narratives) as a basis for the production of legitimacy by rational actors in the selection of rules (institution shopping) in a context of institutional pluralism. However, the driver for change in this approach stems from external, economic and value related processes. This approach gives a clear outline of structurally interrelated aspects, showing which elements trigger institutional changes in the management of the commons. However, there is a lack of conceptualisation of power in all these processes and this is done in Political Ecology. Therefore, the book projet proposes to marry these two approaches, which start from completely different views on actors` strategies and behaviours but which will give a more precise analysis for the study of the commons and institutional change if combined rather than used separately. The result, the New Institutional Political Ecology (NIPE), will be outlined by discussing different takes on the issue of power in Political Ecology and by outlining the New Institutionalism approach in Social Anthropology with its structural interrelated variables for explaining the commons governance in a changing ‘glocal’ world. For the presentation and orientation for the book project I discuss this combination by using an empirical case study of a proposed irrigation project in a commonly owned pasture in Zambia.

Tobias Haller is professor at the Institute of Social Anthropology at the University of Bern, Switzerland. He studied social anthropology, geography and sociology at the University of Zurich, Switzerland and also graduated there. He did research on institutional change in agriculture and common pool resources management in Cameroon and Zambia, led several comparative research projects on the management of the commons in Floodplains in Mali, Cameroon, Tanzania, Zambia and Botswana, on land, water and green grabbing with impact on gender relations in Kenya, Sierra Leone, Morocco, Ghana, Tanzania, Malawi, on Food Systems in Kenya and Bolivia, on social and environmental impacts of oil and mining companies worldwide, on the management of the commons in Switzerland and on constitutionality (participatory bottom-up institution building processes).

CSPS Research Seminar: Problems in paradise: Airbnb, the ‘sharing economy’ and social reproduction in New Zealand’s regional tourist towns

Tuesday 30 October, 12:30-13:30

Leeuwenborch C0083

Problems in paradise: Airbnb, the ‘sharing economy’ and social reproduction in New Zealand’s regional tourist towns

Stella Pennell

Since its inception in 2008 Airbnb has become the largest accommodation provider in the world. In  New Zealand regional tourist towns are disproportionately represented, making them suitable sites for investigation of the Airbnb phenomenon. Drawing on interviews conducted in 2017 with Airbnb hosts from four regional tourist towns in New Zealand, a biopolitical lens illuminates forms of social reproduction emerging for these Airbnb hosts at community, family and personal levels. Airbnb is emblematic of ‘platform capitalism’: capitalism operated through digital infrastructures. Airbnb’s ‘dividuation’ of subjects (hosts) into data bites produces forms of subjectivity anticipated, but not guaranteed, to be amenable to the ‘dataveillance’ by which the platform operates. This research identifies three forms of subjectivity that allow hosts to engage with different effects. This set of subject-positions illuminate the calculative rationalities and material and affective resources employed by Airbnb hosts amidst a horizon of biopolitical contradictions.

Stella Pennell is a PhD candidate at Massey University, New Zealand, currently at WUR on a guest fellowship with CSPS. Stella’s research interests are in regional sociology and tourism. 

CSPS Symposium: Towards Convivial Conservation? Governing Human-Wildlife Relations in the ‘Anthropocene’ (CONVIVA)


08:45 – 09:00 COFFEE/TEA
09:00 – 09:15 OPENING/WELCOME: CONVIVA by Bram Büscher and Rob Fletcher, Sociology of Development and Change, Wageningen University & Research
09:15 – 10:30 SESSION I: Relating Humans and Wildlife
Nature-based tourism and indigenous communities in the Brazilian Pantanal: between representations of biodiversity and biocultural diversity by Koen Arts, Forest and Nature Conservation, Wageningen University & Research
Institutional Arrangements for Conservation, Development and Tourism in Eastern and Southern Africa by René van der Duim, Cultural Geography, Wageningen University & Research
The importance of emotions in human-wildlife relationships by Maarten Jacobs, Cultural Geography, Wageningen University & Research
Carnivores, colonisation and conflict: how to subjugate a nation and its wildlife by Niki Rust, Research Associate, Newcastle University
10:30 – 10:45 COFFEE/TEA BREAK
10:45 – 12:00 SESSION II: Human-wildlife co-existence in practice I
Designing wild-user friendly conservation technologies for animals by Clemens Driessen, Cultural Geography, Wageningen University & Research
Behavioural Ecology and Wildlife Conservation by Marc Naguib, Behavioral Ecology, Wageningen University & Research
Living with the wolf: A Luhmannian perspective to human-wildlife conflict in Redes Natural Park, Spain by Isabeau Ottolini and Arjaan Pellis (Cultural Geography) and Jasper de Vries (Strategic Communication), Wageningen University & Research
Human-bear cohabitation in Rodopi mountains, Bulgaria by Svetoslava Toncheva, Comparative Folklore Studies, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
12:00 – 13:00 LUNCH (in Orion cafeteria)
13:00 – 14:15 SESSION III: Human-wildlife co-existence in practice II
Managing human-wildlife conflicts: examples from WWF programmes by Femke Hilderink-Koopmans, World Wildlife Fund, The Netherlands
Re-examining wildlife management: Living with bears and boars by Susan Boonman-Berson, Independent Researcher, www.bearatwork.org
Balancing with the Wolfs? Institutional change in dealing with large carnivores in Törbel (Switzerland) by Ariane Zangger, Department of Anthropology, University of Bern, Switzerland
What do animals tell us about poaching? by Frank van Langevelde, Resource Ecology, Wageningen University & Research
14:15 – 15:30 SESSION IV: Species, entanglements and politics
Landscape as a trap: tracing duck decoys as multi-species living machines by Eugenie van Heijgen, Cultural Geography, Wageningen University & Research
Global conservation, local negotiation: a case of Barnacle geese by Yulia Kisora, Cultural Geography, Wageningen University & Research
The Apex-Handbag: From egg-gathering natives via croc-farmers to the distributers of quality leather in a global market by Samuel Weissman, Department of Anthropology, University of Bern
The dynamic and two dimensional nature of human-wildlife relations: Learnings from a biosocial study on human-tiger interactions from Panna Tiger Reserve, India by Shekhar Kolipaka, World Wildlife Fund, The Netherlands
15:30 – 15:45 COFFEE/TEA BREAK
15:45 – 17:00 SESSION V: CON-VIVA Project Case Studies
Jaguar Conservation, Brazil by Katia Ferraz, Forest Science Department, University of São Paulo
Grizzly Bear Reintroduction, US (California) by Peter Alagona, Departments of History and Geography, University of California – Santa Barbara
Lion Conservation, Tanzania by Amy Dickman, Wildlife Conservation Research, Oxford University
Grey Wolf Conservation, Finland by Anja Nygren, Development Studies, University of Helsinki
17:00 – 17:15 CLOSING