Governing the Rainforest : Sustainable Development Politics in the Brazilian Amazon

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    • Abstract:
      Sustainable development is often thought of as a product that can be obtained by following a prescribed course of interventions. Rather than conceptualizing it as a sweet spot of economic, ecological, and social balance, sustainable development is an ongoing process of embroilments requiring constant negotiation of often-competing aims. Sustainable development politics yield highly uneven results among different members of society and different geographic areas. As this book argues, such imbalances mean that sustainable development processes often prioritize economic over environmental goals, perpetuating and reinforcing economic and political inequalities. Governing the Rainforest looks at development and conservation efforts in the Brazilian Amazon, where the government and corporate interests bump up against those of environmentalists and local populations. This book asks why sustainable development continues to be such a powerful and influential idea in the region, and what impact it has had on various political and economic interests and geographic areas. In other words, as Eve Z. Bratman argues, sustainable development is a political practice in itself. This book offers detailed case study analysis, including of the creation of vast conservation corridors, the construction of one of the largest hydroelectric plants in the world, and new forms of land settlement projects. Based on a decade of Bratman's ethnographic fieldwork throughout Brazil, and particularly along the Trans-Amazonian Highway, Governing the Rainforest offers a fresh take on sustainable development within a multi-level analysis of actors, discourses, and practices.
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