Mohammed Abdul Baten

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Maine, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10405

Approve Date

October 11, 2022

Project Title

Baten, Mohammed (Maine, U. of) "The entanglement of institutions, market, and livelihood: governing the Sundarbans mangrove in neoliberal assemblages"

Mangroves’ historical undervaluation has frequently resulted in an institutional vacuum, with no defined property rights or enforceable norms governing their usage or protecting against their destruction. In recent years, natural resource management has been battling rising commercialization and commodification pressures where national economic interests may not align with local interests and resource demands. The rationale for promoting neoliberal market-based instruments in nature is that the market will redress resource degradation by generating income for the local communities, which will motivate them to conserve valuable ecosystem processes and biodiversity while securing their livelihoods (B’scher, 2012; Milder et al., 2010). Nonetheless, critiques argue that neoliberal governance’s inherent inclination to individual interests and motivations can obscure more important considerations for local communities, resulting in inequity, a threat to social trust, and the dismantling of community institutions that are believed to be associated with resource sustainability (Doane, 2014; Peterson, 2014). Thus, employing a multi-sited ethnographic approach, using tools like participant observations, in-depth qualitative interviews, surveys, focus group discussions, and participatory mapping, this dissertation project intends to study the governance of the Sundarbans mangrove to understand how neoliberal market forces influence various institutions and decision-making processes around the governance of mangrove forests.