Library Header Image
LSE Theses Online London School of Economics web site

The local power effects of a global governance discourse: 'Community participation' in the protection of biodiversity.

Charnoz, Olivier (2010) The local power effects of a global governance discourse: 'Community participation' in the protection of biodiversity. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

Download (15MB) | Preview


In the international relations literature, two large narratives of power are sustaining a bipolar polemic on global governance, which is either supposed to foster the dynamics of empowerment (emancipatory narrative) or domination (critical narrative). Yet such presentations rarely rely upon detailed empirical work. Remarkably, International Relations (IR) scholars are paying little attention to the local power effects of global discourses. This research takes issue with a key but under-studied discourse - Community Participation (CP) - in the protection of biodiversity. The first case study is located in the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia and relates to corals. The second is in the Brazilian Pantanal, the world's largest wetland. Data were collected over four months of fieldwork, using face-to-face interviews, participant observation, focus groups and written material. To capture a broader diversity of power mechanisms, a grid drawn from recent works in IR was mobilised for the first time in this type of study. An analytical framework was also built that allows testable implications to be derived from macro-narratives and compared with micro-data. Rather than engendering empowerment, it appears that CP has essentially set in motion various containment dynamics affecting local stakeholders. Yet, while our data impressively fit the critical narrative, they also underscore its fragilities and contingency. At local levels, global governance discourses can no longer be seen as "singular and accepted", but rather as "contested and reinterpreted". They do not produce either emancipation or domination per se. They are most fruitfully analysed as tools thrown into local arenas which rent-seeking actors scramble to seize and use for their own ends. This significance of local dynamics undermines notions of North-South dependency or global governmentality. Data favour a hegemony model of the exercise of power that works through alliances and compromises amongst global and local groups within what we call "power formations".

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Political Science, International Relations, Natural Resource Management
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
Departments > International Relations

Actions (login required)

Record administration - authorised staff only Record administration - authorised staff only


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics