Rethinking inequality and injustice in DRC's new ecological landscapes
My research on the environment examines the multiple links between forest resources, capitalism, inequality and claims-making in the rainforest regions of central and western Democratic Republic of the Congo. The project examines the moral claims made by rural communities on research scientists and international environmental NGOs and uses them to theorize local concepts of ‘environmental justice’.
In order to assess the ‘fair’ distribution of environmental benefits and burdens, one challenge lies in understanding ‘fairness’ and ‘unfairness’ in the unique and contingent cultural repertoires in which they are deployed. By examining how environmental politics are enacted and debated in the everyday lives of rural Congolese (in relation to logging, agribusiness and the creation of protected areas), I unpack the ways in which ‘unfairness’ is mobilized by different political actors, in order to contribute to debates on value, reciprocity, rights, obligation, and justice.
© 2017 Alcayna-Stevens
Photograph of an abandoned coffee, palm oil and rubber plantation in Tshuapa province, DRC