Chapter 6: Roots, rhizomes, networks and territories: reimagining pattern and power in political ecologies
This chapter examines the contributions of one school of thought in political ecology: namely, that which explores how ideas about networks, roots, rhizomes and territories and associated methods enable new ways of seeing, being in and studying ‘naturecultures’ (a term used to challenge the dichotomous formulation of nature and culture and to evoke the relational logic and complexities of the living worlds we inhabit), including relations of power within and between places, people and ‘things’. Those ways of being constitute both ends and means in many struggles for freedom and autonomy, especially indigenous peoples’ thought and action. The adoption of new methods, theories, models and metaphors based on those experiences are also necessary, though not sufficient, to decolonize ourselves, our communities and our nations, and their ways of being-in-relation within and between various living worlds. The chapter begins by examining some key conceptual issues and practical developments that underpin such thinking, notably rooted networks, power, social movement practices, actor networks and assemblages, rhizomatic actions, territorial articulations and indigenous worlds. It then shows how such thinking has evolved in and meshed with shared learning and experiences in my own fieldwork in four times and places: Sierra region of the Dominican Republic (1979–81); Machakos District Kenya (1983–93, 2002); Zambran-Chacuey Cotui in the Dominican Republic (1992, 1996, 2006) and Chiapas, Mexico (2005–14).
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