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A Political Space: Reading the Global through Clayoquot Sound

Warren Magnusson
Karena Shaw
Volume: 11
Copyright Date: 2003
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 320
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  • Book Info
    A Political Space
    Book Description:

    The authors develop a new way of making sense of the rapidly changing character of political life in our day, revealing the political problems and possibilities inherent in the convergence of the global and the local so dramatically enacted in Clayoquot Sound. Contributors: Umeek of Ahousaht (E. Richard Atleo), William Chaloupka, Thom Kuehls, Timothy W. Luke, R. Michael M’Gonigle, Catriona Sandilands, Gary C. Shaw, R. B. J. Walker, Sharon Zukin. Globalization and Community Series, volume 11

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-9418-1
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    Warren Magnusson and Karena Shaw
  5. Introduction: The Puzzle of the Political
    (pp. 1-20)
    Warren Magnusson

    If ours is a time of “globalization,” then the politics of Clayoquot Sound is paradigmatic. It is not really that the politics of Clayoquot (or other such places) involves a movement from the local to the global, or even the other way around, despite what so many contemporary commentators suggest. Rather, the politics of places such as Clayoquot puts traditional distinctions between local and global, small and large, domestic and international—and much else—into serious question. If Clayoquot is paradigmatic, it is because thepuzzleof politics is especially apparent there. What forms does politics take? How are we...

  6. Mapping Clayoquot Sound
    (pp. 21-24)

    There are various ways of locating or “mapping” Clayoquot Sound. The following maps are the ones that were included in the 1999 proposal to establish a Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve.

    Readers unfamiliar with the area should note the size and location of Vancouver Island, as indicated in Figure 1. The only well-settled part of the island is on the east coast: from Victoria, past Nanaimo, to a point about midway along the coast. Vancouver and Seattle are on the mainland, just to the east of the area in the inset. The Biosphere Zones in Figure 2 were designated as such...

  7. Encountering Clayoquot, Reading the Political
    (pp. 25-66)
    Karena Shaw

    I first arrived in Tofino—the main non-Native village in Clayoquot Sound—for a three-week visit on December 20, 1988. Just getting to Clayoquot Sound was a striking experience: a two-hour ferry ride from Vancouver to Vancouver Island, then a three-hour drive over rugged mountains, with not so much as a house or gas station for the last hour or so. At the end of the road was Tofino: a sleepy, rain-drenched hamlet. I knew little about the politics or history of British Columbia, even less about the precise region I was visiting.¹ I was an American university student on...

  8. There Must Be Some Way Out of Here: Strategy, Ethics, and Environmental Politics
    (pp. 67-90)
    William Chaloupka

    During the summer of 1993, the struggle over Clayoquot Sound first came into focus on a day that attracted international attention and launched a remarkable summer of protest. The musical celebrities and political activists of Midnight Oil gave a concert that drew five thousand people to the remote protest site (Ingram 1994). It turned out to be one of only three days during that summer when logging stopped. It was also a day that focusedattention on Clayoquot in a way that could not be easily forgotten or denied. MTV broadcast the concert, which was also covered by CNN. The struggle...

  9. On the Political Economy of Clayoquot Sound: The Uneasy Transition from Extractive to Attractive Models of Development
    (pp. 91-112)
    Timothy W. Luke

    In surveying the political economy of Vancouver Island, many of the current conflicts in global capitalism can be read from traces they leave in the lives of the particular individuals who live on Clayoquot Sound. During the 1970s, Maureen Fraser, a burned-out social worker from Ontario, came to the Sound on a trip to enjoy the newly created Pacific Rim National Park. Now one of Tofino’s most famous environmental advocates as well as the town’s highly respected baker, she remembers her first trip into town in search of a cinnamon bun: “I couldn’t find one because there was no bakery...

  10. Commentary. On the Universal and the Particular: Sovereignty and the Urban Global
    (pp. 113-120)
    Warren Magnusson

    Chaloupka and Luke both discuss the particularities of Clayoquot in relation to certain universals: in Chaloupka’s case, the particularities of strategic calculation in relation to the universals of environmentalist ethics, and, in Luke’s case, the particularities of the Clayoquot region in relation to the universals of a postindustrial global economy. In this commentary, I want to draw attention to other aspects of the problematic relation between the particular and the universal. I will focus especially on two things: the question of sovereignty as it relates to Canada in general and to the government of British Columbia in particular, and the...

  11. Somewhere between Center and Territory: Exploring a Nodal Site in the Struggle against Vertical Authority and Horizontal Flows
    (pp. 121-138)
    R. Michael M’Gonigle

    When I was a teenager, my father and I used to go fishing a lot, weekends usually, exploring different rivers, lakes, and inlets of southern and central British Columbia. On one trip, in the mid-1960s, we were trolling for salmon off Vancouver Island, well north of Clayoquot Sound. As we puttered along in our small rented boat, a large ship appeared on the horizon, looming ever larger as it approached us. It was an unusual vessel for, as it approached, we could see that it was towing something very big. Soon we found ourselves face-to-face with a whaling ship returning...

  12. Between the Local and the Global: Clayoquot Sound and Simulacral Politics
    (pp. 139-168)
    Catriona Sandilands

    Snapshot 1 (1972). I am standing with my mother on the government wharf in Port Alberni, waiting for my father’s ship to dock. I am eight years old; my father is hydrographer-in-charge on board theWilliam J. Stewart, and he is coming home after an extended survey trip of the BC coast. The smell of the pulp mill is everywhere, and I want to go swimming.

    Snapshot 2 (1979). My “kissing cousin” Paul and I are on the rocks at Long Beach. He is wearing a leather jacket; I am wearing (and have worn for days) the blue Queens University...

  13. Commentary: Clayoquot and the Cultures of Nature
    (pp. 169-178)
    Sharon Zukin

    I cannot write about Clayoquot with Sandilands’s or M’Gonigle’s passion about home. Neither can I see myself occupying a place in the imagined nation forests evoke—not in the American sublime of Catskills pine trees and California redwoods, nor in blood-drenched German myths of the woods. I am just an urban visitor to the forests, a sometime traveler to “natural wonders,” tied to Clayoquot by the acts of consumption environmentalists deplore.

    Walking home one day from the organic food store, my groceries in a brown paper bag, I notice the wordPAPERprinted near the bottom in big blue letters....

  14. The Environment of Sovereignty
    (pp. 179-198)
    Thom Kuehls

    On April 21, 1984, the Clayoquot Band Council and the Hereditary Chiefs of the Clayoquot Band declared Meares Island a “tribal park,” claiming “title” to the land, insisting that visitors “adhere to the Laws of our Forefathers; which were always there” (CD II/A/1). The Tla-o-qui-aht¹ issued this tribal park declaration in response to plans by MacMillan Bloedel (MB) to log more than 4,500 hectares of the island. According to the Tla-o-qui-aht, it was necessary to preserve Meares Island in order to ensure “the survival of our Native way of life.” Meares Island was to be preserved, “as the island is...

  15. Commentary. Discourses in and about Clayoquot Sound: A First Nations Perspective
    (pp. 199-208)
    E. Richard Atleo

    Among traditionally oriented Nuu-chah-nulth, discourses about beginnings and about the nature of all relationships are heard from the time of a person’s birth. These discourses explain, among other things, the origins of, and relationships between, the diversity of life-forms found in Clayoquot Sound.

    The following is one such story told in the house of Keesta. Keesta was born eighty years after fur trading began and forty years before colonial settlement (circa 1900) in Clayoquot Sound. He was my great-great-grandfather, who survived into the 1950s, a full decade after my own birth.

    A person is busy fashioning two knives in preparation...

  16. Clearcut Identities: Tracking Shape-shifters in Clayoquot Sound
    (pp. 209-236)
    Gary C. Shaw

    Clayoquot provides access to many of the dynamics—historical, cultural, epistemological, symbolic—of global transformation. As Umeek suggests, these dynamics—the “shape-shifting” that he identifies with the Transformer—have been profoundly affected by the practices of colonialism. This is nowhere more apparent than in the domain of science.

    From the days of John Locke and Gilbert Sproat onward, science has represented Native people in particularly misleading ways. It has also represented places like Clayoquot in ways that may be equally misleading. As I shall argue (following on from Ashis Nandy, Donna Haraway, and others), the dominant forms of science are...

  17. They Seek It Here, They Seek It There: Locating the Political in Clayoquot Sound
    (pp. 237-262)
    R. B. J. Walker

    There are many ways of making sense of events articulated in relation to a site identified as Clayoquot Sound, many ways of interpreting the multiple struggles and contentions centered on the logging practices rapidly erasing one of the world’s last remaining temperate rainforests. These events have provoked considerable commentary and analysis; so much so, in fact, that it is not all that easy to see what else might be said. Still, even now there is much about these events that is difficult to characterize, and even more that is difficult to evaluate, even though there are many familiar characterizations and...

  18. Conclusion: Clayoquot and the Politics Beyond
    (pp. 263-286)
    Warren Magnusson and Karena Shaw

    We began this book with a series of claims: that we could read the globalthroughthe local at Clayoquot, that such a reading would disrupt assumptions about the political, and that the method we have used could be applied productively to other sites. Have we proven any of these claims? Readers will judge.

    In this Conclusion, we propose to do two things. The first is to tease out political conclusions from the ideas that run through our contributors’ essays. Academics are often shy about saying what they mean politically. Not so Michael M’Gonigle, who brings an activist’s sensibility to...

  19. Research Guide: The Clayoquot Documents and the Clayoquot Project Web Site
    (pp. 287-294)

    Below are some resources to facilitate research into the events at Clayoquot Sound and beyond. TheClayoquot Documentswere provided to all of those who attended the International Workshop on the Politics of Clayoquot Sound in May 1997, and thus contain virtually all of the primary documents contributors used to write the essays contained in this book. They are now available in full-text versions on-line at the Clayoquot Project Web site: Volume 3 ofThe Clayoquot Documents(1997–2001) is also on-line there.

    In the book, volumes 1 and 2 of theThe Clayoquot Documentsare cited by reference...

  20. Contributors
    (pp. 295-298)
  21. Index
    (pp. 299-306)