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Sustainability and Communities of Place

Sustainability and Communities of Place

Edited by Carl A. Maida
Copyright Date: 2011
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 272
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  • Book Info
    Sustainability and Communities of Place
    Book Description:

    The concept of sustainability holds that the social, economic, and environmental factors within human communities must be viewed interactively and systematically. Sustainable development cannot be understood apart from a community, its ethos, and ways of life. Although broadly conceived, the pursuit of sustainable development is a local practice because every community has different needs and quality of life concerns. Within this framework, contributors representing the disciplines of anthropology, sociology, geography, economics, law, public policy, architecture, and urban studies explore sustainability in communities in the Pacific, Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe, and North America.

    Contributors:Janet E. Benson, Karla Caser, Snjezana Colic, Angela Ferreira, Johanna Gibson, Krista Harper, Paulo Lana, Barbara Yablon Maida, Carl A. Maida, Kenneth A. Meter, Dario Novellino, Deborah Pellow, Claude Raynaut, Thomas F. Thornton, Richard Westra, Magda Zanoni

    eISBN: 978-0-85745-284-9
    Subjects: Environmental Science, Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Tables and Figures
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-18)
    Carl A. Maida

    The concept of sustainability holds that the social, economic, and environmental factors within human communities must be viewed interactively and systematically. The Brundtland Report (World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987) defines sustainable development as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In 1996, an international group of practitioners and researchers met in Bellagio, Italy, to develop new ways to measure and assess progress toward sustainable development. The Bellagio Principles (1997) serve as guidelines for the whole of the assessment process, including the choice and design of indicators, their...

  6. Part One: Local and Global Knowledges

    • Sustainability: Where, When, for Whom? Past, Present, and Future of a Local Rural Population in a Protected Natural Area (Guaraqueçaba, Brazil)
      (pp. 21-40)
      Claude Raynaut, Magda Zanoni, Angela Ferreira and Paulo Lana

      A rethinking of development models has occurred during the latter half of the twentieth century. For the most part, this rethinking has been critical of purely economic models that only emphasize growth and do not take into account the needs and aspirations of the affected population and risks to the natural environment. Perroux’s works (1961), those of the “Club of Rome” (Beckerman 1972; ONU/EPHE 1972) and, lately, Sachs’ works (1990) bear witness to this shift in thinking. In the 1990s, the concept of sustainable development came to the forefront. The World Conservation Union (IUCN) first used this notion in its...

    • Alaska Native Corporations and Subsistence: Paradoxical Forces in the Making of Sustainable Communities
      (pp. 41-62)
      Thomas F. Thornton

      In America’s largest state, Alaska, the environment is not an issue buttheissue. This is clearly reflected in the state’s conflicted material and symbolic status as “the last frontier,” which brands it as both an unspoiled wilderness for preservation and a land of vast untapped resources for industrial development. Somewhere between the wilderness preservationists, whose influence has helped make Alaska a land of parks, preserves, and tourism, and the industrial developers, whose power has shaped Alaska’s natural resource-based economy, dwell Alaska Natives, who historically have sought sustainable relationships with the lands they have inhabited for centuries, if not millennia....

    • Communities Out of Place
      (pp. 63-81)
      Johanna Gibson

      This land is mine

      This land is me

      These two lines come from the Australian musicalOne Night the Moon, directed and coscripted by Australian indigenous filmmaker Rachel Perkins. Based on actual events in the Australian outback in 1932, the film tells the story of a pastoralist couple whose child, after waking up at the bright moonlight streaming into her bedroom, wanders into the night chasing after the moon and is lost in the bush. The father refuses the help of an Aboriginal tracker and orders him off his land, an action with tragic consequences. In this scene, the father’s...

    • “Talking About Kultura and Signing Contracts”: The Bureaucratization of the Environment on Palawan Island (the Philippines)
      (pp. 82-106)
      Dario Novellino

      In the Philippines, legislative requirements and bureaucratic procedures associated with indigenous claims over land and resources do not create a facilitating environment for sustainable culture and community-based practices. The old, strictly punitive protectionism is now being replaced by equally dangerous “community-based” forest management programs. Indigenous communities are no longer evicted from their territories; instead, they are asked to enter into agreements with the state. In spite of their promising features, community-based forest management agreements (CBFMAs) may contribute to the erosion of community livelihood and social cohesion while having adverse effects on fragile forest ecosystems.

      Today, the Batak of Palawan¹ are...

  7. Part Two: Local Practices:: Adaptive Strategies and State Responses

    • Does Everyone Suffer Alike? Race, Class, and Place in Hungarian Environmentalism
      (pp. 109-126)
      Krista Harper

      While doing research on environmental politics and activism in Hungary, I interviewed an environmental lawyer in Budapest. We talked at length about how the sweeping legal and economic changes of the post-socialist transformation affected the environment. Referring to the broad array of environmental problems left in the wake of the transition from state socialism to the first stage of Eastern Europe’s presumed inclusion in global capitalist markets, he said, “Environmental issues don’t discriminate because everyone is so vulnerable.”

      The statement “everyone is so vulnerable” illustrates a widely held belief among Hungarian environmentalists. Activists frequently present the environment as a consensus...

    • Attachment Sustains: The Glue of Prepared Food
      (pp. 127-142)
      Deborah Pellow

      The geographer Mabogunje (1990: 128) has observed that one of the early problematics of African urbanization focused on “demographic development and the emergent social differentiation among urban Africans.” This raised interest in so-called segregational issues, such as the ethnic segregation that grew out of migration histories and that was kept alive by colonial policies. More recently, writers like Hannerz (1987, 1992; see also Mintz & Price 1985) have moved on to consider the manner in which separate cultures come together and hybridize, suggesting that “this world of movement and mixture [as] a world in creolisation” (Hannerz 1987: 551) is a promising...

    • Globalization, Local Practice, and Sustainability in the High Plains Region of the United States
      (pp. 143-157)
      Janet E. Benson

      While researchers have examined economic and environmental factors affecting agricultural sustainability in the High Plains region of the United States, they have paid relatively less attention to sociocultural factors intrinsically linked to agricultural decision-making and the future of communities. Anthropologists can contribute to public policy decisions through a holistic perspective that takes into account both local practice, particularly the social relations in which agricultural practices are embedded, and an understanding of broader contexts (see Okongwu & Mencher 2000). This is not to deny the reality of local response, whether it entails resisting larger forces or embracing them. However, a broader perspective...

    • Quality of Life, Sustainability, and Urbanization of the Oxnard Plain, California
      (pp. 158-180)
      Barbara Yablon Maida and Carl A. Maida

      The latest unplanned, random, urbanizing landscapes no longer adhere to traditional categories, such as urban, suburban, town, or rural. Agricultural land is being used for these landscapes, which are characterized by dispersed industry, homes, and stores. Daly and Cobb (1989) suggest that this use of agricultural land has its roots in the maximized profits of industrialization; more productive farms would require fewer farmers. Price does not take ecological or social consequences into account. This leads to an unsustainable model and the expedient of a land sell-off. Ultimately, in spite of the technology and intensification lavished on the production of food...

  8. Part Three: Social Capital, Civic Engagement, and Globalization

    • Linked Indicators of Sustainability Build Bridges of Trust
      (pp. 183-200)
      Kenneth A. Meter

      Citizens who pursue environmental initiatives in community contexts face anecologyof social and economic issues that is extremely complex and often difficult for the outsider to penetrate. This fact alone suggests the need for local residents to be intimately and powerfully involved in partnerships with professionals who address sustainability concerns. Further, there is strong reason for professionals who work in community settings to maintain a detachment regarding their own professional expertise. Professionals tend to be specialists, while residents tend to be generalists: they are the experts on localsystems. Frequently, academic or professional specialties contribute to a discourse that...

    • The Design of the Built Environment and Social Capital: Case Study of a Coastal Town Facing Rapid Changes
      (pp. 201-220)
      Karla Caser

      In the last century the design of the built environment has faced considerable paradigm changes. The functionalist approach to design emerged in architecture and planning in the nineteenth century (Pérez-Gómez 1983), as these professions became enamored with the technological products of the Industrial Revolution. Functionality and universality of solutions were the premises of the Modernist movement, which proposed the creation of a new world for a “new technological man.” Modernism prevailed for half a century, reaching its peak during the reconstruction period following World War II. In the postwar era, the first signs emerged that the new technological man did...

    • Sociomaterial Communication, Community, and Ecosustainability in the Global Era
      (pp. 221-236)
      Richard Westra

      In an important intervention in the literature on environmental political economy, John Dryzek (1996) explains how debate over the possibility of constructing an ecosustainable future for human society has largely swirled around two perspectives on human nature. On the one side isHomo economicus, the instrumental, “rational” actor of neoclassical economics. And, on the other side, there isHomo ecologicus, the new, ascetic ecological subject of “Green” social theory. For Dryzek, it is abundantly clear that little space exists in instrumental rationality for the ecosensitivity required by a future environmentally responsible social order. On the other hand, he is concerned...

    • The Prospect of Sustainability in the Culture of Capitalism, Global Culture, and Globalization: A Diachronic Perspective
      (pp. 237-248)
      Snježana Čolić

      Recent analyses of capitalism have focused on the cultural practices of consumption. While all human beings consume, a central preoccupation of advanced capitalism is consuming. Moreover, consumption has become the culturaltelosof capitalism. As Tomlinson (1992: 122) suggests, what has cultural significance are the high levels of consumption in advanced capitalist societies. For these societies introduce a particular set of meanings people attach to their consumption practices and to the significance of such practices for their sense of purpose, happiness, and identity.¹ Of course, such practices are not static but change over time. What has often been overlooked in...

  9. Appendix 1: Glossary
    (pp. 249-250)
  10. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 251-253)
  11. Index
    (pp. 254-262)