#5 Thinking Space Seminar Series w/ Robert Fisher

Wednesday 1 April 2015
4.00 - 5.00pm

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School of Geosciences.

Critical political ecology, geography and environment in the Mekong Region

This event is part of the Thinking Space Seminar Series, presented by the School of Geosciences.


Much of the research done by AMRC postgraduate researchers in the Mekong Region has explored environmental issues, especially around aspects of environmental politics and governance. This work has been carried out by both researchers from the region and from Australia. It covers a variety of countries in the region and a variety of natural resource and environment issues and themes. This presentation presents a brief overview of some of this research and aims to identify some common themes within the diversity. One common element in the body of work is that it challenges “new orthodoxies”. Environmental and natural resource governance in the region has become influenced by ideas such as decentralised governance and collaborative and community-based approaches to resource management to the extent that these ideas have almost become new orthodoxies. These “new orthodoxies” themselves have often emerged from a critique of old orthodoxies. For example community-based natural resource management emerged from critiques of centralised management. A common theme of much of the postgraduate research has been critical exploration of ways in which these ideas have been applied in practice. The critiques shows the place of research in nuancing (rather than throwing out) orthodoxies through grounded exploration in context.

Dr Robert Fisher (Geosciences)

Bob Fisher is an anthropologist. His PhD research was a study of human ecology, focusing on strategies for adapting to drought in the Thar Desert in Rajasthan. He specialises in social and political ecological aspects of natural resource management, particularly involving community forestry. After working in Nepal with the then Nepal-Australia Forestry Project in the late 1980s, he taught at the University of Western Sydney, Hawkesbury, before becoming Deputy Director of the Regional Community Forestry Training Center in Bangkok from 1997 to 2001. He has done research or consultancies in a wide variety of countries, including Mozambique, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. Recent publications include “Linking Conservation and Poverty Reduction: Landscapes, People and Power” (Fisher et al, 2008. Earthscan) and the edited volume “Adaptive Collaborative Management of Community Forests in Asia: Experiences from Nepal, Indonesia and the Philippines” (Fisher et al 2007, CIFOR). He aims to combine theoretical and applied interests and has a strong interest in action research and documentary video production. Bob is a Senior Lecturer in the School with a primary role as Senior Researcher with the Australian Mekong Resource Centre