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Stormy weather: democratizing expertise in a changing climate: essays on environmental knowledge and social vulnerability in Mexico and India

Bridel, Anna (2022) Stormy weather: democratizing expertise in a changing climate: essays on environmental knowledge and social vulnerability in Mexico and India. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.00004438


This set of essays expands knowledge about climate change governance by analysing how local people influence expertise about storms. This is motivated by the projected intensification of climate change and its disproportionate effects on marginalized people in the so-called Global South, together with the frequent irrelevance of expertise to those who depend upon it most, even when they are included in processes of knowledge production. The papers draw on debates from three literatures: the politics of expertise from Science and Technology Studies (STS); participation from Development Studies; and vulnerability from Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR). The main contribution of these papers is to expand what we mean by inclusion in knowledge production – that it is not merely the integration of diverse actors, but how political structures shape what knowledge gets heard and who is seen to be producing it – and apply it in conditions of climate risk governance. The papers describe research in four localities in Mexico and India where marginalized fishing communities are vulnerable to storms, and different configurations of risk, local vulnerabilities, and political cultures offer grounds for comparison. Ethnographic research methods including interviews and participant observation carried out in 2018, 2019 and 2020 were used to gather material which was subjected to discourse and content analysis. The papers argue that political orders, fisher identities and knowledges are interdependently constituted. The essays add to debates about the democratization of climate expertise by analysing the underexplored effect of expertise as a contested form of politics for climate change adaptation, thereby suggesting ways that development in the context of climate change can better reflect the needs of local 4 people. The papers contend that making climate policy more relevant and useful requires not just including vulnerable people but understanding how their capacity to shape expertise is embedded in contemporary politics.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2022 Anna Bridel
Library of Congress subject classification: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Sets: Departments > International Development
Supervisor: Forsyth, Tim and Venugopal, Rajesh

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