Ian G. Baird: Political Memories, Economic Land Concessions, and Landscapes in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic

Paper presented at the International Conference on Global Land Grabbing II – October 17‐19, 2012 – Organized by the Land Deals Politics Initiative (LDPI) and hosted by the Department of Development Sociology at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.

Recently I have argued that ‘political memories’ —which are crucial for establishing and maintaining ‘political capital’, based on individual and group positioning during past wars and conflicts— are important when considering varied outcomes from negotiations that occur in the Lao People‘s Democratic Republic in relation to large-scale economic land concessions (see Baird and Le Billon 2012, Political Geography). In this paper I expand on the idea of political memories by considering the concept in relation to the theoretical framework presented by Hall et al. (2011) in their book Powers of Exclusion, which stresses the importance of interactions between regulation, force, the market and legitimation for understanding different types of exclusionary processes, especially in relation to access to land. I argue that political memories are particularly relevant when it comes to the idea of legitimation, and that the concept of political memories fits well into Hall et al.’s framework. In relation to large-scale plantation, mining and hydropower dam concessions, I stress the importance of political memories in (re)shaping understandings of landscapes.

Lire la suite : Cornell Land Project (pdf)

Ian Baird, Assistant Professor of Geography, University of Wisconsin-Madison, see Ian Baird Profile

Ian G. Baird is an Assistant Professor of Geography and an affiliate of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Geographically, his research is focused on mainland Southeast Asia, especially Laos, Cambodia and Thailand. He is particularly interested in upland peoples, including the Brao and Hmong, and the ethnic Lao. Much of his research revolves around political ecology, human-environment relations, the co-management of natural resources, resource tenure issues, development studies, post-colonial studies, social movements, social theory, social and spatial (re)organization, identities, boundaries, and 19th and 20th century mainland Southeast Asia history. He conducts research regarding social justice and environmental issues associated with internal resettlement in Laos, economic land concessions in mainland Southeast Asia, and hydropower development in the Mekong region. He also has a keen interest in indigenous peoples’ issues. He has worked with progressive non-government organizations (NGOs) and people’s organizations in Southeast Asia for most of the last 25 years. He believes that environmental justice issues should be recognized more widely as being fundamentally linked to human rights, including rights to livelihoods. He has an extensive academic publication record.

Email: ibaird@wisc.edu

Source : Human Rights Initiative, University of Wisconsin-Madison