Current Institutional Affiliation
Associate Professor and Executive Director of Bucknell Center for Sustainability and the Environment, Environmental Studies, Bucknell University

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 1999
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Natural Resources & Environment, University of Michigan
Negotiating Devolution: Community Conflict, Structural Power, and Local Forest Management in Quintana Roo, Mexico

The proposed research centers on the politics of resource control in the Maya forest of the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. It focuses on how changes in state-mandated forestry law impact the ability of communities to manage their forests. I hypothesize that changes in national forestry law transform power relationships among agrarian communities, state agencies and economic interest groups. This shift in power significantly reduces agrarian communities' forest management capacity. I propose that legal changes impact local power relationships in three interrelated ways. First, legal changes alter the relative balance of power among political actors including the amount and type of power resources--such as financial credit and technical support--that they have at their disposal. Second, these changes influence how decision-making occurs by partially reestablishing which agents may legitimately participate and by generating incentives and disincentives that partially restructure management norms. Finally, legal change redefines the terms of discourse that steer political interests and practices.