Commentary by Janpeter Schilling (University of Koblenz-Landau): Why war rhetoric in the time of the coronavirus pandemic is not only wrong, but dangerous
A “bazooka” is what the German Federal Minister of Finance, Olaf Scholz, recently called an aid package to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus. In the same press conference he later mentioned “small arms”, which would also be ready to fight the virus. For the otherwise rather unemotional Scholz, this is an unusual choice of words. Early on in the corona crisis, French President Emmanuel Macron stated “We are at war“. Donald Trump, the self-appointed US “Wartime President” even speaks of “our big war“. Why are important politicians using such a martial vocabulary in their responses to the corona pandemic? And is this okay?
Much has been written on the global land rush, its implications for affected communities and the environment, as well as its conflict potential. However, I argue that assemblage thinking provides a particularly insightful analytical lens to zoom into exclusion mechanisms at play in plantations and respective efforts of contestation. Even in spaces of tight surveillance, increasing intra-community cleavages, and the breakdown of social institutions, I show how the emergence of unusual alliances and solidarity may challenge the status quo.
Each year, hundreds of people around
the Global South die resisting and contesting resource extraction. While
reports attending to this matter are growing, the phenomenon itself is not
particularly new. Indeed, violent extractivism is central to the project of
has been widely discussed in recent years. It seems quite evident why: Corporate
investment in farmland has increased significantly and severely impacted many local
communities. But this is only one reason why land grabbing has become a
prominent topic. As I discuss in this article, it has also been “successfully” made
visible by activists.
“The water levels are currently enormous, but
local people lack adequate provision of water!” This observation struck me
during my field research around Lake Naivasha in Kenya. Therefore, enlarging
the research puzzle on the water-conflict nexus, I investigate how water
shortages at water abundant areas impact low-key conflicts in Kenya.
by Janpeter Schilling1, Christina Saulich2 & Nina Engwicht3
global schemes of resource certification and global demand for valuable resources
like diamonds and land influence local conflicts? How do local resource and
conflict dynamics influence global processes related to resource demand and
certification? To address these questions, we have edited a special issue in the
journal Conflict, Security and Development that introduces a local to global
framework to examine resource governance and conflicts across scales.
by Sören Köpke, University of Braunschweig – Institute of Technology
The conflict dimensions of large-scale land acquisitions and water management issues have gained a lot of scholarly attention over the last decade. A small, but growing research community is investigating the social consequences of extractive industries. There is a need for integrative approaches bringing these topics together – inquiries into the food-water-energy-mining nexus. Read more
The term ‘shrinking spaces’ describes state actions that aim to restrict civil societies’ activities. In this article I investigate in how far spaces for civil society action are also influenced by changes in land control by looking at two cases of large-scale land transformations in Senegal. Read more
by Sandra Koch, Green Scenery/AGEH-Civil Peace Service
Christian Schulze, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Sierra Leone
In Sierra Leone, the livelihoods of the majority of the population, particularly the rural poor, are based on secure and equitable access to land, fisheries and forests. Increasing pressure on these resources in the last decade alongside their highly unequal distribution have contributed to disputes and conflict over access and user rights, which were already a key driver of the Sierra Leone civil war from 1991-2002. Read more