Politics, Property, and Production in the West African Sahel: Understanding Natural Resources Management

Politics, Property, and Production in the West African Sahel: Understanding Natural Resources Management

Politics, Property, and Production in the West African Sahel: Understanding Natural Resources Management

Politics, Property, and Production in the West African Sahel: Understanding Natural Resources Management

Synopsis

Understanding natural resources management requires an interdisciplinary approach. Through a number of case studies from the West African Sahel, this book links and explores natural resources management from the perspectives of three distinct but interrelated spheres (politics, property and production) and within a broad and empirically based political ecology.

Excerpt

Over the past decade, Norwegian and Danish social science research on natural resources management in the Sahel has been considerable. in part, this research grew out of the Norwegian and Danish commitment to support the poorest region in the poorest continent in the world. After the great Sahelian drought in the mid1980s both Norway and Denmark increased their development assistance to the Sahelian countries, and while Denmark primarily supported Burkina Faso, Niger and Senegal, Norway concentrated its efforts in Mali. This geographical focus has been reflected in the research which the assistance entailed and is also noticeable in this book.

The research collaboration between and among Norwegian and Danish scholars in this field has been extensive, and most of us have met and exchanged ideas quite frequently in various forums in Norway and Denmark. Seven out of the fifteen chapters are authored by researchers previously enrolled at the Graduate School of International Development Studies at Roskilde University, but also occasions such as the annual Danish Sahel Workshop, and other seminars in Norway, Denmark and elsewhere have offered good opportunities for us to discuss our ideas and experiences. On many occasions, international scholars have stimulated our thinking and research with their writing and comments. Among these are Brigitte Thébaud, Paul Mathieu and Michael Mortimore, who have generously contributed to our research community, and we are extremely happy to have convinced them to be part of this book project. We hope the result will both inform practitioners and decision makers, and stimulate continued research in this fascinating part of the world.

We are grateful to the great number of people in Norway, Denmark and the Sahel who have provided comments on the individual chapters along the way. We are also very thankful for the financial support for this book project offered by the Danish Council for Development Research, as we are to the Graduate School of International Development Studies at Roskilde University which bore the cost of the language correction meticulously executed by Maribel Blasco. Finally, we thank Lars Øimoen for the help with scanning and cleaning up some of the maps presented.

Tor A. Benjaminsen and Christian Lund Ås and Roskilde . . .

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