Sophie Pascoe

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Melbourne, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9471

Approve Date

April 25, 2017

Project Title

Pascoe, Sophie, U. of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia - To aid research on 'Storytelling REDD+: Interactions and Inequalities between Global Environmental Governance and Local Lives,' supervised by Dr. Wolfram H. Dressler

Preliminary abstract: While environmental governance initiatives, such as climate change mitigation mechanisms, are often framed in scientific and economic terms, they are entangled with diverse processes of socio-environmental change that cross ontological and epistemological borders. This research is an attempt to complicate the stories that are told about environmental governance and develop a narrative concerning the complex reality of local communities and women on the borders of such change. Grounded in a political ontology framework, this study focuses on the frictions and inequalities that may emerge as global environmental governance initiatives, specifically the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) program, are translated locally in Papua New Guinea (PNG). By acknowledging the varied ways of perceiving and enacting reality and engaging with indigenous worldviews, this analysis aims to challenge hierarchical conceptions of scale and reformulate ideas of the ‘local’ in terms of social relations and being. Relational ‘assemblages’ are proposed as an alternative way to explain the complex interactions that take place as REDD+ intersects with local livelihoods, land tenure systems and social relations. This analysis explicitly focuses on gender to highlight the heterogeneity of ‘communities’ and further destabilise the boundaries that are drawn between scales, places and people. Through ethnographic fieldwork with communities implicated in the Central Suau REDD+ Pilot Project in the Milne Bay Province and key institutions driving REDD+, this project explores the emerging assemblages and potential ontological conflicts that accompany environmental governance in changing socio-environmental contexts.