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Democracy in the Woods: Environmental Conservation and Social Justice in India, Tanzania, and Mexico

Prakash Kashwan (Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Connecticut)

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Oxford University Press Inc
15 November 2018
Rural communities; Conservation of the environment; Environmental science, engineering & technology
How do societies negotiate the apparently competing agendas of environmental protection and social justice? Why do some countries perform much better than others on this front?

Democracy in the Woods addresses these question by examining land rights conflicts--and the fate of forest-dependent peasants--in the context of the different forest property regimes in India, Tanzania, and Mexico. These three countries are prominent in the scholarship and policy debates about national forest policies and land conflicts associated with international support for nature conservation. This unique comparative study of national forestland regimes challenges the received wisdom that redistributive policies necessarily undermine the goals of environmental protection. It shows instead that the form that national environmental protection efforts take--either inclusive (as in Mexico) or exclusive (as in Tanzania and, for the most part, in India)--depends on whether dominant political parties are compelled to create structures of political intermediation that channel peasant demands for forest and land rights into the policy process. This book offers three different tests of this theory of political origins of forestland regimes. First, it explains why it took the Indian political elites nearly sixty years to introduce meaningful reforms of the colonial-era forestland regimes. Second, it successfully explains the rather counterintuitive local outcomes of the programs for formalization of land rights in India, Tanzania, and Mexico. Third, it provides a coherent explanation of why each of these three countries proposes a significantly different distribution of the benefits of forest-based climate change mitigation programs being developed under the auspices of the United Nations.

In its political analysis of the control over and the use of nature, this book opens up new avenues for reflecting on how legacies of the past and international interventions interject into domestic political processes to produce specific configurations of environmental protection and social justice. Democracy in the Woods offers a theoretically rigorous argument about why and in what specific ways politics determine the prospects of a socially just and environmentally secure world.
By:   Prakash Kashwan (Associate Professor of Political Science University of Connecticut)
Imprint:   Oxford University Press Inc
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 163mm,  Spine: 20mm
Weight:   560g
ISBN:   9780190935504
ISBN 10:   0190935502
Series:   Studies Comparative Energy and Environ
Pages:   336
Publication Date:   15 November 2018
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active
List of Figures List of Tables Preface and Acknowledgments 1. The Politics and Political Economy of Forestland Regimes SECTION I: The Origins and Divergences of National Forestland Regimes 2. Colonialism and the Transformation of Hinterlands 3. Politics of

Prakash Kashwan is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Connecticut.

Reviews for Democracy in the Woods: Environmental Conservation and Social Justice in India, Tanzania, and Mexico

Democracy in the Woods also makes an important contribution to the literature on institutional change ... Kashwan incorporates structure and agency into his analysis in a way that is reminiscent of Anthony Giddens' structuration theory ... The book is an important contribution to the emerging body of work seeking to bridge the gap between historical institutionalism and rational choice institutionalism. --Craig M. Kauffman, Perspectives on Politics Careful, insightful scholarship. Highly recommended. - CHOICE As Kashwan's excellently researched book shows, choosing between land rights of the peasants and forest dwellers and environmental sustainability is a false choice. - The Wire Kashwan's brilliant book offers a multi-scale political analysis of the production of policy for the control and use of nature. He develops a neat way of analyzing how national forestry regimes come to be and how they act for and on different classes of people. - Jesse Ribot, Professor of Geography, University of Illinois Combines multi-level analysis with nuanced cross-national comparison to reveal how historical legacies, the state, local politics and social actors interact to shape conflicts over social equity and environmental conservation. - Jonathan Fox, Professor, School of International Service, American University In Democracy in the Woods, Prakash Kashwan takes an ambitious step in the comparative analysis of land rights and environmental politics in a study that spans three continents. Kashwan explains how, in contexts of great social inequality, political institutions and processes mediate links between forest conservation, local land rights, and social justice outcomes. He challenges both scholars and activists to broaden their understanding of sources of challenge and opportunity in conservation and land-rights politics. - Catherine Boone, Professor of Comparative Politics, London School of Economics A hugely significant contribution to our understanding of the social justice dimensions of environmental policy. Kashwan brings in the third dimension of economic growth as well as giving this book a distinctive niche. - Jairam Ramesh, MP, former Minister of Environment and Forests, Rural Development, 2009-2014 Government of India The book powerfully reminds us that both conservation and social justice outcomes related to land have more to do with de facto implementation of governance regimes than with the de jure construction of those regimes and, in doing so, it reminds scholars of all forms of institutions and governance regimes that the failure of state agencies to enforce laws and policies may not be a lack of state capacity per se so much as the outcome of the state responding to the diverse pressures that are placed upon it by powerful actors with competing interests. - The European Journal of Development Research ... a powerful portrayal of the complexities of governance and justice contained in the issues of land displacement and environmental conservation, which can both contribute to widening livelihood and habitat insecurity. - LSE Review of Books In this exceptionally detailed and ambitious study, Kashwan sets out to explain the divergence of forestland institutions in three cases-India, Mexico, and Tanzania-by crafting a rich historical account of the interactions between colonial legacies, populist politics, and contemporary global environmental politics. -Global Environmental Politics This is a dense and informative book that successfully integrates an historical analysis of rights with a discussion of current political conflicts. - The Journal of Peasant Studies Kashwan argues persuasively that there is no simple trade-off between poverty reduction and environmental conservation, and that a crucial determinant of the form of national environmental protection is whether parties provide an avenue for peasants to effectively challenge forest regimes not in their interest... Careful, insightful scholarship. Highly recommended. - CHOICE I recommend [Kashwan's] book to anyone concerned about the fraught relationship between conservation and social injustice. His book challenges us to turn away from small technocratic fixes and refocus on big issues. Hopefully, we are up to the task. - Robert Wasserstrom, Society and Natural Resources [A]n ambitious, scholarly, and challenging book...[and] an erudite study, littered with inspiration and readings from numerous fields. It is a significant contribution to a growing corpus of important work from this author that explores the relationship between conservation, marginality, and politics. - Dan Brockington, Conservation and Society Prakash Kashwan sets...an ambitious goal of drilling down deeper into the India, Tanzania, and Mexico comparison in the specific domain of 'forestland regimes'. ... Kashwan has taken on a bewildering mass of empirical detail in his cross-temporal and cross-scale analysis and is largely successful in his goal of analyzing the structures of political intermediation in the comparative case studies. - International Journal of the Commons The book is an exemplary work of comparative politics, situated at the intersection of multiple disciplines and approaches including political science, historical institutionalism, development studies, environmental history and political ecology. By weaving theories and concepts across these disciplines, Kashwan develops a novel theoretical framework he calls a political economy of institutions, which allows him to ask a range of pertinent questions about the relationship between institutions, power and forest conservation. - Adeniyi P. Asiyanbi, Environmental Politics Democracy in the Woods provides a refreshing look at the comparative politics of forest conservation, state formation, and social justice. [It] is a timely and engaging analysis of the factors affecting resource conservation, social mobilization, and environmental justice. - Journal of Politics


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