The International Handbook of Political Ecology
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The International Handbook of Political Ecology

Edited by Raymond L. Bryant

The International Handbook features chapters by leading scholars from around the world in a unique collection exploring the multi-disciplinary field of political ecology. This landmark volume canvasses key developments, topics, issues, debates and concepts showcasing how political ecologists today address pressing social and environmental concerns. Introductory chapters provide an overview of political ecology and the Handbook. Remaining chapters examine five broad themes: issues and approaches; governance and power; knowledge and discourse; method and scale; connections and transformations. Across diverse topics and perspectives, these chapters amount to a wide-ranging survey of current research, making the International Handbook an indispensable reference for scholars and students in political ecology.
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Chapter 32: From ‘participation’ to ‘negotiation’: suppressing dissent in environmental conflict resolution in Brazil

Andréa Zhouri


The chapter analyzes the effect of abstract global ideas on politically grounded processes in Brazil. It focuses on global environmental policies and strategies related to consensus building that are presented as solutions to environmental conflicts. It interrogates how such strategies, driven by transnational finance institutions, such as the World Bank, have been adopted by Brazilian agencies, in turn producing effects of displacement: from resistance to participation to negotiation, from justice to rights to interests, from the global to the national to the local, so that nearly everything in the process can be negotiated (rights, laws, local territory, environmental regulation and so on). If participation has been a key concept within a global sustainability paradigm, and one that seemingly responds well to calls for democracy in countries like Brazil, negotiation is the medium through which participation (therefore democracy/the political) must occur. Yet, in a process typical of coloniality of knowledge and power, dissent and alterity are sidelined. Thus participation, understood as qualified participation, ends up producing a situation in which subaltern groups are silenced and environmental inequalities are perpetuated.

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