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Making territory: War, post-war and the entangled scales of contested forest governance in mid-western Nepal


Byrne, Sarah; Nightingale, Andrea J; Korf, Benedikt (2016). Making territory: War, post-war and the entangled scales of contested forest governance in mid-western Nepal. Development and Change, 47(6):1269-1293.

Abstract

Ruptures that constitute exceptional events in national politics intersect in different ways with local politics, wheremore ongoing, continuous processes of both contestation and conservation around natural resource use may persist amidst a turbulent political landscape on other scales. Nepal, with its series of unfinished revolutions, civil war (1996–2006), and recurrently contested process of state (trans-)formation, is a case in point. Through a study of a contested forest in mid-western Nepal, this article analyses the entanglement of rupture and realignment of contentious claims to political authority across different scales, as well as the continuities of negotiations over claims to recognition of forest use and citizenship rights. The authors analyse some of the messy and complex practices through which authority to govern forests is claimed and legitimated, and citizenship rights are asserted and defined. They show that while political ruptures caused by the war and post-war dynamics unsettle and reshuffle the political terrain, claims to citizenship and property rights endure, even if the language and form of the claim are adapted. These claims are embedded within existing jurisdictions but, at the same time, actors lay claims to property and citizenship rights by working across scales and renegotiating their boundaries. ‘Making territory’, the authors conclude, is the effect of the entanglement of these different territorial politics and practices.

Abstract

Ruptures that constitute exceptional events in national politics intersect in different ways with local politics, wheremore ongoing, continuous processes of both contestation and conservation around natural resource use may persist amidst a turbulent political landscape on other scales. Nepal, with its series of unfinished revolutions, civil war (1996–2006), and recurrently contested process of state (trans-)formation, is a case in point. Through a study of a contested forest in mid-western Nepal, this article analyses the entanglement of rupture and realignment of contentious claims to political authority across different scales, as well as the continuities of negotiations over claims to recognition of forest use and citizenship rights. The authors analyse some of the messy and complex practices through which authority to govern forests is claimed and legitimated, and citizenship rights are asserted and defined. They show that while political ruptures caused by the war and post-war dynamics unsettle and reshuffle the political terrain, claims to citizenship and property rights endure, even if the language and form of the claim are adapted. These claims are embedded within existing jurisdictions but, at the same time, actors lay claims to property and citizenship rights by working across scales and renegotiating their boundaries. ‘Making territory’, the authors conclude, is the effect of the entanglement of these different territorial politics and practices.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
08 University Research Priority Programs > Asia and Europe
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Language:English
Date:2016
Deposited On:22 Feb 2017 14:46
Last Modified:31 May 2017 07:34
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0012-155X
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/dech.12273

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