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Beyond utopia and a 'power-full' state: A reply to Nuesiri

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-106
Number of pages3
JournalGEOGRAPHICAL JOURNAL
Volume182
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016

King's Authors

Abstract

Struggles of communities for rights and control over forests continue despite the rhetoric about decentralisation. Nuesiri suggests that a failing of decentralised forest management stems from its pure utopian vision that attracts both loyalty and opposition. I argue that such framing is as novel as it is problematic. A utopian frame unhelpfully purifies. It assumes that the often declared proponents of decentralisation were thoroughly ambitious about 'creating space for communities'. Explanations suggesting that the state selectively shares its power risk portraying non-state actors as passively waiting for a 'power-full' state to share power. I show, through an example of an Integrated Conservation and Development Project in Nigeria, how the often declared proponents of decentralisation may not have been as ambitious as a utopian frame suggests. I argue that a failing of decentralised forest management might be precisely that it probably never was a utopia. A reply to Nuesiri (2014) A reply to Nuesiri (2014)

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