Pluralising political forests: unpacking “the State” by tracing Virunga's charcoal chain

Marijnen, Esther and Verweijen, Judith (2020) Pluralising political forests: unpacking “the State” by tracing Virunga's charcoal chain. Antipode, 52 (4). pp. 996-1017. ISSN 0066-4812

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Peering through the lens of illegal charcoal production in the forested areas of Virunga National Park in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, this paper makes a case for disaggregating the notion of “the state” to better capture “the political” in contemporary political forests. It argues that to identify the fluctuating importance of different dimensions of “stateness”, it is crucial to acknowledge the polymorphous socio‐spatial relations that produce political forests. Thus, we draw on the notions of territory, place, scale and network (TPSN) to examine how “stateness” in Virunga has transformed under the particularisation, transnationalisation, and regionalisation of authority. This approach allows us to show how these processes do not only stem from neoliberalisation, but are also driven by, inter alia, regional warfare and non‐state militarisation. The resulting complexity of the regulatory landscape turns Virunga into a space marked by a plurality of partly overlapping and partly conflicting political forests.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > International Relations
Research Centres and Groups: Sussex Centre for Conflict and Security Research
Depositing User: Judith Verweijen
Date Deposited: 04 Feb 2019 15:46
Last Modified: 14 Aug 2020 10:45

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