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The contentious political economy of biofuels : transnational struggles over food, fuel, and the environment Neville, Kathryn 2012

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THE CONTENTIOUS POLITICAL ECONOMY OF BIOFUELS: TRANSNATIONAL STRUGGLES OVER FOOD, FUEL, AND THE ENVIRONMENT  by  Kathryn Neville B.Sc., Queen’s University, 2004 M.E.Sc., Yale University, 2007  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in The Faculty of Graduate Studies (Political Science) THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver) December 2012 © Kathryn Neville, 2012  !  ABSTRACT The quintessential image of a farmer in a field summons to mind an industry at the heart of debates over land, environment, and food. A picture of an oil rig, silhouetted against the sky, conjures its own questions of progress, growth, and power. As agricultural products modified into energy commodities, biofuels—liquid fuels derived from plants—are located at the intersection of these industrial complexes, and, consequently, at the crux of these concerns. Over the course of a decade, starting in the early 2000s, public discourse over biofuels has spanned early optimism to uproar over food security to outcry over land appropriation. This project investigates why both the rules governing and the actual implementation of biofuels investments underwent such rapid and continuous revision. What, it asks, explains these seemingly-stochastic shifts? Why do state, society, and corporate actors not align into and remain part of more coherent pro- and anti-biofuels camps? And why, in spite of media reports of protests, campaigns, and lawsuits against biofuels projects, can we not identify consistent movements and counter-movements? Drawing on original fieldwork in coastal Kenya and Tanzania from 2010-2011, and triangulating field-based interview and observational findings with media reports, policy documents, and secondary literature, this dissertation argues that biofuels are challenging objects of contention for claim-makers and power-holders alike, for two reasons. First, their position at the junction of commercialized energy and agriculture implicates them in difficult-to-track, globalizing, and distant political economy relationships. Second, at the production level, biofuels are a diverse set of crops that affect local ecologies and livelihoods in geographically-specific ways, while in energy markets, they are a largely-unified fuel alternative. These differences across sectors make them difficult to promote, regulate, and resist. This dissertation proposes a framework of contentious political economy to analyze these complex claims and responses. The project brings together a dynamic, cyclical understanding of the capture and appropriation of identities, interests, and historical grievances with a political economy perspective on new market forces and commodities. Beyond biofuels, the project considers the social and environmental repercussions of the intersection of new resource economies with long-standing grievances. !  !  ii!  !  PREFACE As cited throughout the dissertation (especially in chapter 5), global analyses of biofuels politics and developments, particularly across the global South, were undertaken as co-authored projects and have been published. The survey of biofuels in chapter 2 and the discussion of corporate consolidation in chapter 6 draw from, and in several cases directly quote, these papers. The empirical and theoretical work in both papers were shared equally by the authors. • Dauvergne, P., & Neville, K.J. 2009. The changing North-South and South-South political economy of biofuels. Third World Quarterly, 30(6): 1087-1102. • Dauvergne, P., & Neville, K.J. 2010. Forests, food, and fuel in the tropics: The uneven social and ecological consequences of the emerging political economy of biofuels. Journal of Peasant Studies, 37(4): 631-660. The theory in chapter 3 of contentious politics and their cycles was initially explored in work on seal hunt politics, which has been published as a co-authored article. The empirical and historical work on the seal hunt and its associated markets were mainly conducted by P. Dauvergne; I drafted early iterations of the theoretical framework applying cycles of contention to the debates. • Dauvergne, P., & Neville, K.J. 2011. Mindbombs of right and wrong: Cycles of contention in the activist campaign to stop Canada's seal hunt. Environmental Politics, 20(2): 192-209. A version of chapter 5, specifically the section on mapping and information access in Tanzania, has been published as a co-authored article. I conducted the field work, and drafted the initial manuscript; revisions and further work were jointly undertaken by the authors. • Neville, K.J., & Dauvergne, P. 2012. Biofuels and the politics of mapmaking. Political Geography, 31(5): 279–289, doi:10.1016/j.polgeo.2012.03.006 I presented a version of chapter 7 at the International Studies Association meeting. • Neville, K.J. 2012. The political economy of biofuels. Conference paper, Resources, Energy, and International Political Economy panel. International Studies Association, April 1-4, 2012, San Diego, California. Much of the field research in Kenya and Tanzania was carried out in collaboration and partnership with researchers from joint projects led by the French Institute of Research for Development (IRD), with partners including the University of Dar es Salaam, the National Museums of Kenya (NMK), the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), University of Nairobi, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, and Kenya Wetlands Biodiversity Research Group (KENWEB). Details of these projects are included in chapter 2, under methodology. Ethics approval for the Biofuels and Wetlands project, under principal investigator Peter Dauvergne, was granted by the UBC Behavioural Research Ethics Board and assigned the identification number H10-01600. Research permits and official affiliations for field research in Tanzania and Kenya were obtained by the author from the respective governments, through NMK, the University of Dar es Salaam, and IRD.  !  iii!  !  TABLE OF CONTENTS ! ABSTRACT ..............................................................................................................................................................ii! PREFACE................................................................................................................................................................ iii! TABLE!OF!CONTENTS.........................................................................................................................................iv! LIST!OF!TABLES ...................................................................................................................................................vi! LIST!OF!FIGURES................................................................................................................................................ vii! ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS .................................................................................................................................. viii! DEDICATION .......................................................................................................................................................... x! CHAPTER!1!–!ENERGY,!FOOD!&!LAND!IN!A!SHIFTING!GLOBAL!MARKETPLACE..............................1! 1.1!NARRATIVES!OF!BIOFUELS!&!DEVELOPMENT ...............................................................................................................4! 1.2!CONTESTATION!&!A!NEW!POLITICAL!ECONOMY!OF!FUEL ...........................................................................................7! 1.3!OUTLINE!OF!THE!DISSERTATION .....................................................................................................................................8! 1.4!THE!BROADER!IMPLICATIONS ....................................................................................................................................... 14! CHAPTER!2!–!BIOFUELS .................................................................................................................................. 16! 2.1!LIQUID!FUELS!FROM!PLANTS ......................................................................................................................................... 18! Production!systems,!agriculture,!and!environmental!impacts ...................................................................... 19! Market!dynamics!and!production............................................................................................................................... 21! 2.2!CASE!STUDIES!&!FIELD!METHODS:!BIOFUELS!PROJECTS!IN!TANZANIA!&!KENYA ............................................... 25! 2.3!METHODOLOGY ............................................................................................................................................................... 37! CHAPTER!3!–!CONTENTIOUS!POLITICAL!ECONOMY.............................................................................. 46! 3.1!ANALYTICAL!LENSES ...................................................................................................................................................... 50! Contentious!politics........................................................................................................................................................... 50! International!political!economy!of!the!environment ......................................................................................... 58! Political!ecology.................................................................................................................................................................. 63! Synthesis!and!contributions!of!bridging!theoretical!approaches................................................................. 67! 3.2!CONTENTIOUS!POLITICAL!ECONOMY ........................................................................................................................... 68! The!complexity!of!resource!politics............................................................................................................................ 68! Endogenous!and!exogenous!economic!forces........................................................................................................ 70! The!contentious!political!economy!composite ...................................................................................................... 75! 3.3!POWERIHOLDERS!&!CLAIMIMAKERS........................................................................................................................... 77! States!and!transnational!corporations!(TNCs)..................................................................................................... 77! Fields!of!power!and!multiple!identities .................................................................................................................... 79! Interactive!and!shifting!power!relations ................................................................................................................. 81! Actors,!groups,!and!alliances ........................................................................................................................................ 83! Governance!and!investment .......................................................................................................................................... 84! 3.4!CONCLUSIONS .................................................................................................................................................................. 87! CHAPTER!4!–!EPISODES!&!STREAMS!OF!CONTENTION ........................................................................ 90! 4.1!BIOFUELS!&!CONTENTION ............................................................................................................................................. 91! The!economics!of!commodities!and!contention.................................................................................................... 92! Local,!direct!action!and!global,!ideational!movements .................................................................................... 94! Global!agroSindustries!and!transnational!social!movements ........................................................................ 96! Frame!construction!and!economic!messaging...................................................................................................... 98! !  !  iv!  !  4.2!EPISODES!&!STREAMS:!SHIFTING!FRAMES!&!MOVEMENTS!IN!BIOFUELS!CONTESTATION ................................. 99! Episodes!of!contention ...................................................................................................................................................100! Streams!of!contention ....................................................................................................................................................103! 4.3!BEYOND!SOCIAL!MOVEMENTS:!HISTORIES!OF!RESOURCE!&!PRODUCTION!CLAIMS ...........................................105! Environment!and!conservation..................................................................................................................................105! Food!systems!governance!and!economic!globalization ..................................................................................108! Peasant!movements!and!neoScolonial!resistance ..............................................................................................109! 4.4!INTERSECTIONS!&!INSTITUTIONS ..............................................................................................................................110! 4.5!CONCLUSIONS:!CLARIFYING!MUDDIED!STREAMS .....................................................................................................112! CHAPTER!5!–!SILVER!BULLETS:!EARLY!DAYS!OF!BIOFUELS!OPTIMISM .......................................113! 5.1!THE!RISE!OF!BIOFUELS .................................................................................................................................................117! 5.2!CONTENTIOUS!COASTS:!LAND!&!INFORMATION!ACCESS!IN!TANZANIA!&!KENYA .............................................128! 5.3!BIOFUELS!AS!A!CLAIMIMAKING!TOOL ........................................................................................................................135! 5.4!ADOPTION!OF!BIOFUELS!BY!TARGETS!OF!CLAIMS ....................................................................................................141! 5.5!CONCLUSIONS!&!THE!FOOD!CRISIS .............................................................................................................................147! CHAPTER!6!–!GROWING!CONTENTION:!FOOD!VERSUS!FUEL ...........................................................150! 6.1!GROWING!MARKETS:!OPPORTUNITIES!&!THREATS!ON!THE!INTERNATIONAL!STAGE .......................................154! 6.2!CRISIS,!NEW!MARKETS!&!WARRING!PARADIGMS:!FOOD!&!FINANCE ...................................................................161! Financialization!and!agricultural!goods:!abstract!markets!and!concrete!resources........................162! Framing!and!discourse ..................................................................................................................................................164! 6.3!ECOLOGIES!&!LOCAL!LEVEL!DYNAMICS .....................................................................................................................169! The!rush!for!biofuels!in!Tanzania’s!Rufiji!delta ..................................................................................................171! 6.4!CONCLUSIONS!&!UNEXPECTED!OUTCOMES...............................................................................................................174! CHAPTER!7!–!ROCKY!FUTURES:!LAND!GRABS!&!UNCERTAIN!MARKETS......................................176! 7.1!AGRICULTURE,!BIOFUELS!&!PUBLIC!PERFORMANCES!IN!KENYA ..........................................................................177! 7.2!IDENTITIES,!POLITICAL!HISTORIES!&!PROTESTS .....................................................................................................185! 7.3!SHIFTING!DISCOURSES!&!MUDDIED!STREAMS:!FROM!EMPTY!STOMACHS!TO!FULL!LANDS ..............................195! 7.4!CONCLUSIONS!&!UNCERTAIN!FUTURES .....................................................................................................................200! CHAPTER!8!–!CONFLUENCE:!CONTENTION,!RESISTANCE!&!TRANSFORMATION.......................201! 8.1!CONTRIBUTIONS!OF!FRAMEWORK!FOR!UNDERSTANDING!PROTEST!&!RESISTANCE .........................................204! Collective!public!action!and!moments!of!change...............................................................................................205! Sustained!activism:!challenging!the!idea!of!spontaneous!protest..............................................................207! Sustained!inequality:!challenging!the!idea!of!unexpected!crisis.................................................................208! Historical!grievances!and!catalysts!of!protest ....................................................................................................210! Global!patterns!from!local!observations................................................................................................................211! Convergence,!campaigns!and!intersecting!claims.............................................................................................216! 8.2!THE!POLITICAL!ECONOMY!OF!POWER:!CONTENTION!OVER!ENERGY!PRODUCTION ...........................................217! Extending!the!contentious!political!economy!framework:!water...............................................................219! Extending!the!contentious!political!economy!framework:!oil!and!gas ....................................................221! 8.3!TRANSFORMATIVE!POLITICS!IN!EMERGING!MARKETS!&!NEW!STATEISOCIETY!RELATIONS ............................225! REFERENCES .....................................................................................................................................................227!  ! !  !  v!  !  LIST OF TABLES ! Table 2.1 Top producers of biofuels in 2006....................................................................... 23 Table 2.2 “Biofuel projections: Ethanol”............................................................................. 27 Table 2.3 “Biofuel projections: Biodiesel”.......................................................................... 28 ! ! !  !  vi!  !  LIST OF FIGURES ! Figure 2.1 Bioethanol and biodiesel manufacturing process............................................... Figure 2.2 Overview of global biofuel production, 2004-2012, in billions of litres…....... Figure 2.3 Map of Rufiji delta............................................................................................. Figure 2.4 Map of villages visited in the Tana delta for IRD groundwater study.............. Figure 3.1 Cyclical model of contentious political economy interactions.......................... Figure 3.2 A dynamic, interactive framework for analyzing mobilization......................... Figure 8.1 Diagram of sectoral positions on biofuels over the episodes of contention.......  !  19 22 32 36 71 72 203  vii!  !  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS “We didn’t hear enough then about making the enemy irrelevant. No one said, loud enough to be heard over the din of pacification, Let’s make something beautiful, so the enemy will have one less place to stand.” ~Barry Lopez, Resistance “I have no faith in any kind of political party, left, right, or centrist. I have boundless faith in love. In keeping with this faith, the only spiritually responsible way I know to be a citizen, artist, or activist is by giving little or no thought to things such as saving the planet, achieving world peace, or stopping neocon greed. Great things tend to be undoable things. Small things, lovingly done, are always within our reach.” ~David James Duncan, God Laughs & Plays  I am grateful for the guidance, mentorship, and encouragement extended so generously to me over the course of my graduate studies, and especially through my work on this dissertation. And I am thankful to many more people I’ve encountered along the way than I can possibly list. While I haven’t named them all, I hope they recognize themselves in this—writers, activists, ecologists, farmers, herders, students, and friends who work for and inspire beauty, compassion, integrity, and equity, and, in doing so, buoy my spirit and catalyze hope in countless ways. While this dissertation and its associated projects reveal the challenges in naming a specific ‘enemy’ and the complexities associated with revolution, resistance, and contention, my hope is that it nonetheless fights against injustice and inequality. My aim is to inform, bolster, encourage, and challenge all those working for global change. This project is a small act, done with love. I am indebted to Peter Dauvergne, my advisor, mentor, co-author, and champion, for his unwavering guidance and support, no matter how busy his schedule. As he holds himself to the highest standards of scholarship, he inspires the same in his students. I hope with this work, and in all my future work, to live up to his example. Jennifer Clapp and Yves Tiberghien, my committee members, have offered invaluable insights, encouragement, and constructive and challenging critiques. I am also grateful to Jennifer and Yves for their own research and writing, which have informed my thinking and continue to lead the way in global environmental politics. I had knowledgeable and experienced field research partners in both Tanzania and Kenya, without whom this dissertation would not have been possible. In particular, I extend thanks to the Institute of Research for Development, under the guidance of Stéphanie Duvail, the University of Dar es Salaam, with the help of Amos Majule, and the National Museums of Kenya, through Wanja Nyingi. These institutions and their affiliated researchers extended tremendous generosity in all aspects of the fieldwork, and their long-term engagement in community-based participatory research and deep ties to the land and people are a model and inspiration. Also in the field, Francis Semwaza, Elibariki Mjema, Camille Bouchez, Crystèle Léauthaud-Harnett, Delphine Lebrun, Kennedy Otoi, Siad Bakero, and Martina Locher proved to be open and enthusiastic collaborators, colleagues, assistants, translators, and guides. In addition, many research partners and friends offered personal support and encouragement: I thank the Rebelo family, the Kantai family, Christopher Wade, and Stella Daduyi. Thanks, too, to Wanja and her family, who opened their home to me—my time in Kenya was enriched by Malaika’s infectious laugh and spirit of play. Further, I owe a great debt to the people of the Rufiji and Tana deltas and surrounding villages, who shared their experiences, ideas, and concerns, and who offered generous hospitality during all visits to their communities. Likewise, many government, non-governmental and !  viii!  !  intergovernmental organization officials, corporate representatives and spokespeople, and university and independent researchers shared their perspectives and work with me, both in person and virtually. While I cannot repay these debts directly, I hope they find their perspectives fairly represented in this work and discover something of value in this project. Along with my advisor and committee, I have been privileged with dedicated teachers throughout my academic career, who have continued to offer support even as I’ve shifted disciplines and moved countries. As the boundaries between my scholarship, work, and personal life have blurred, I am appreciative that many colleagues and collaborators have also proven dedicated friends. I am thankful to Raleigh J. Robertson, Rachel Vallender, Sheila Olmstead, Brad Gentry, and Gordon Geballe. Stephen McCaffrey, too, has been an unflagging mentor. While his expertise in transboundary water law is intimidating, his enthusiasm about exploring its challenges is contagious and his encouragement of my work unfailing. At UBC, during classes, coffee breaks, and, sometimes, on trail runs through the endowment lands, I have benefitted from the advice and encouragement of Brian Job, Max Cameron, Jane Lister, Genevieve LeBaron, Philippe LeBillon, and fellow graduate students Leanne Smythe, Solanna Anderson, Elise LeClerc-Gagné, James Baker, Jonathan Tomm, Laura Lee, Jan Lüdert, and Jen Allan. The Earth Negotiations Bulletin has provided unparalleled opportunities for witnessing global environmental politics in action, and I owe great thanks to the organization and its incredible people, among them Tanya Rosen, Sikina Jinnah, Pia Kohler, Tallash Kantai, Graeme Auld, Peter Wood, Nancy Williams, and Kimo Goree. For offering retreats and supportive environments for writing, I thank Karen McDiarmid, Melanie Ashton and Christopher Pleydell, and Jean Baird and George Bowering. I also extend deep gratitude to Erika Mundel and Andrew Rushmere, Kim and Kate Smolina-Rutherford, Catherine Benson, Hana Boye, Camille Rebelo, Elizabeth Leonardis, Kim and Josh Walters, Erin Barnes, Matthew Parslow, and Katie Mitchell. Comments on articles linked to this project greatly improved the dissertation, with helpful feedback provided by Jun Borras, Ian Scoones, Philip McMichael, John McCarthy, and the participants of a workshop on ‘Biofuels, Land and Agrarian Change’ at Saint Mary’s University in 2009, panel participants and audience members at a panel organized by Jennifer Clapp at the 2011 meeting of the Canadian Political Science Association, and several anonymous reviewers. Funding throughout my doctoral program and associated field research was provided by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), through its Canada Graduate Scholarship Doctoral Award and Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement, along with UBC’s Pacific Century Graduate Scholarship and Four-Year Fellowship, the Liu Institute for Global Issues’ Bottom Billion Fund, and the Consular Corps of British Columbia Graduate Scholarship in International Relations. Ellen Meloy writes, “I look into my coffee cup before I pour, and I try to live here as if there is no other place and it must last forever. It is the best we can do. Everyone’s home is the heartland of consequence.” In my academic career and far beyond it, my family and extended family have been steadfast supporters, attentive listeners, and insightful critics—and have offered, when needed, refuge, encouragement, advice, and distraction. Their steady love and open arms remind me where to find my heartland of consequence. There are not enough words to thank Kate Harris, Pat and Jan Neville, Lukas Neville and Indra Kalinovitch, and Gord and Jeannie Harris.  !  ix!  !  DEDICATION For my parents, who, by example, teach me to live as if there is no other place, and for AK, whose wild, unmapped wonder leads me into terra incognita, and from there, home.  !  x!  Chapter!1!–!Introduction!  CHAPTER 1 – ENERGY, FOOD & LAND IN A SHIFTING GLOBAL MARKETPLACE ! Inherent in story is the power to reorder a state of psychological confusion through contact with the pervasive truth of these relationships we call “the land.” ~Barry Lopez, Landscape and Narrative  In a quiet moment, standing on a red, rutted road beside a tangle of branches in a thicket somewhere in the 35 000ha reserve of Ruvu South, you might hear the short, squeaky song of the little yellow flycatcher,1 or, if you were lucky, the tsseer of the threatened Sokoke pipit.2 To the uninformed eye, and especially during a quiet moment missing birdsong, the parched soil, scrubby bush, and dense undergrowth look like improbable terrain for hosting much wildlife at all. The low tangle of brush and grasses bear little resemblance to the lush tropical forest that might be expected given the site’s inclusion in a region designated as a biodiversity hotspot.3 My own misperceptions were quickly dispelled, though, as my guides and companions—experts in wildlife biology and forest management—pointed out coastal forest tree species now found in few places. The birds, along with other threatened or endemic wildlife such as the African elephant,4 Zanzibar galago,5 and East African collared fruit bat,6 take refuge in this mixed landscape of forest, woodland, thicket, swamp and grassland, only forty-five kilometers west of Dar es Salaam, straddling the Kinaha and Kisarawe districts of the Pwani (or coast) region of Tanzania.7 Yet my initial untrained perception of degraded land was not entirely wrong, as the ecologists explained to me. The reserve was not an intact expanse of untouched coastal forest, but instead the remnants of a forest that formerly sported a 30-foot canopy. The patchy cover and charred !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1  Erythrocercus holochlorus Anthus sokokensis 3 See the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) and the Center for Conservation and Sustainable Development (CCSD) websites for more information about the Eastern Arc Mountains and Coastal Forest regions and their identification as biodiversity hotspots: http://cepf.tfcg.org/easternarc.html and http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/ccsd/location/tanzania.shtml 4 Loxodonta africana 5 Galagoides zanzibaricus 6 Myonycteris relicta 7 See the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group (TFCG) website for further details about Ruvu South: http://www.tfcg.org/docs/project_ruvu.htm 2  !  1!  Chapter!1!–!Introduction!  grasses reflected not only an unfamiliar landscape but also revealed the human pressures that threaten these ecosystems. Charcoal production, for instance, was rampant on the outskirts of the reserve and even, illegally, inside it. A steady stream of bicycles piled high with sacks of charcoal on the road from Kisarawe towards Dar provided vivid proof of the pervasiveness of this activity, indicating its importance to local families for household use as well as for sale to urban populations. Agricultural activity, too, left its imprint on the fringes of the reserve. A 1995 report indicated that the “Ruvu South forest is unusual in that there are no villages or settlements adjoining the forest itself, and the absence of cultivation pressure on the forest considerably eases its conservation” (Clarke & Dickinson 1995:73). The report’s authors highlighted some agricultural pressure on the northeastern edges of the reserve area, but, at that time, farming was not encroaching on the forest itself. By 2010, though, pressure on the forest and its edges had intensified. An area initially buffered from development activity, Ruvu South is now positioned amidst a mosaic of changing and intensifying land uses. The early 2000s saw the introduction of biofuels projects around the world, including in coastal east Africa. Around 2008, a UK company, SunBiofuels, acquired an 8 000ha area in Kisarawe for biofuel production. By 2010, a pilot to test the planned Jatropha curcas crop was already underway on that land. While biofuels can refer to a large number of non-petroleum, plant-based energy sources, ranging from wood and other solid biomass to biogas, the term has been taken up largely to refer to liquid fuels—bioethanol and biodiesel—derived from plants and plant oils. A few years before, environmental activists looking for alternatives to charcoal supported early forays into biofuel initiatives, hopeful that these renewable energy sources would reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They were united with health advocates, who worried—in places like Kisarawe—about charcoal’s use as a cooking fuel and the associated impacts on air quality, particularly for women and children. Rural development practitioners also held a pro-biofuels stance, being keen to find new income sources to bolster purchasing power for food and other necessities. Further aligned in support were those articulating anti-globalization positions, for whom biofuels represented a  !  2!  Chapter!1!–!Introduction!  locally-controlled crop in the context of increasingly consolidated corporate ownership of agriculture and energy. But as I stood in Ruvu South in September 2010, just a few years after this initial period of optimism over biofuels, controversy swirled like a dust storm around these new commodities. As emerging scientific evidence questioned the carbon savings of these fuels, and highlighted potential threats to biodiversity and water from land use change and agricultural intensification, other concerns also came to the fore. Commercial investments in biofuels plantations drew attention, with some observers worrying that these crops could further entrench large-scale corporate control of land. Some voiced opposition to the perceived neo-colonialism of foreign corporate involvement. For others, the intersection of state support with corporate interests, as was initially the case in Tanzania, was worrying. These investments fueled the concerns of local communities with insecure land rights that development projects could justify the further displacement of indigenous and marginalized people, as well as compete for scarce land and water resources. In the wake of food shortages during the height of price spikes in 2008, biofuels grown on arable land, especially from food crops, were widely maligned. What was for some a carbon-neutral renewable energy solution and a small-scale development opportunity for the rural poor, was for others a water-hoarding and food-stealing agricultural commodity, and for yet others, a land-alienating neo-colonial trick. By late 2011, newspaper headlines vilified the SunBiofuels project, with the Guardian, for instance, reporting on how “UK firm's failed biofuel dream wrecks lives of Tanzania villagers” (Carrington 2011). Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) such as ActionAid, too, spoke out, with articles including “How a biofuels landgrab has destroyed the life of an African village” (Cohen 2011). These diverse and contradictory representations of biofuels projects mirrored the debates over the land itself – a territory written over by many narratives and diverse actors, with some pointing to seasonal grazing and small-scale production as a full and productive use of fragile soils, and others seeing fallow lands in economically-depressed areas as in need of conversion into more steady, predictable output.  !  3!  Chapter!1!–!Introduction!  The two stories of energy and agro-forestry production—charcoal and biofuels, which rub up against each other in places like Ruvu South—exemplify some of the current heated debates over how to address the pressing and inter-related problems of sustainable development, climate change, energy security, and agriculture. From afar, this appears to be a case of local communities, conservation activists, and NGOs pitted against states and corporations, a battle over industrial development and corporate profit in rural areas. However, as revealed by a closer look at the international and local pictures, this simple divide captures little of the actual contestation at play. The landscape, both political and physical, is far more complex. 1.1 NARRATIVES OF BIOFUELS & DEVELOPMENT Different readings of biofuels, and the larger debates, movements, and visions of development they invoke, are at the heart of this dissertation. International and national actors across multiple sectors have shifted their alliances and statements about biofuels wildly over the past decade. Meanwhile, scientific and social debates continue to rage. This project tracks these changing media portrayals, international policies, investment patterns, and local responses to biofuels proposals, with the aim of finding coherent patterns in these diverse positions and narratives. Why, it asks, do we observe such rapid shifts in positions and alliances around these commodities? What explains the variable narratives surrounding these fuels? How do certain framings gain such power in global debates, and contribute to realigning the allegiances of onetime supporters or opponents? And why, with seemingly clear stories of corporations running roughshod over communities in some places contrasted with campaigns successfully halting projects in other places, can we not just undertake a comparative study of the success and failures of mobilization and activism? From an economic standpoint, the intensity and rapid-fire changes in these debates are puzzling, given the small scale of these markets from a global perspective. Similarly, a scientificallyinformed reading fails to reconcile the technological discoveries with political positions. And sociological explanations remain stymied by the ways in which some identities seem to be powerful tools in campaigns promoting or opposing these fuels, yet fail to account for all the variation in support and resistance. To make sense of the myriad stories overlaid on the same  !  4!  Chapter!1!–!Introduction!  resources, claims, and landscapes, the project sets biofuels contestation in the context of larger and longer-term debates over food systems, energy systems, land control, identity, and place. Biofuels, in this dissertation, link new markets with old histories, and the project thus brings politics, ecology, economics, and sociology into conversation. Rapidly changing alliances and discourses over biofuels, I argue, are explained by two intersecting factors: the first is their position at the junction of the energy and agrifood regimes— two powerful, industrialized, highly contentious systems. The second is their symbolic power as a set of commodities implicated in multiple existing conflicts around territory, ownership, and control. With feedstocks such as sugar and oil palm often already produced in many regions for food, and with the location of their introduction overlapping with areas previously facing competing claims for land tenure and access, biofuels are readily co-opted as strategic symbols of more abstract goals. This project takes on the puzzles outlined above—the driving “why” questions probe the reasons that alliances and positions changed so rapidly—but also aims to demonstrate that shifts and adaptations of discourse and position reflect more than a predictable change over time as knowledge and scientific data are gained. The project aims to probe the intersection of identities with economic interests, at multiple temporal and geographic scales, leading to a clearer understanding of the motivations of changing positions by actors and groups, as well as to a better grasp of the trends and patterns of the changes more generally, across projects, cases, and levels. Views of biofuels are not all based on simple sectoral identities or tidy assumptions about economic interests and risk acceptance. Investors, in some portrayals of negotiations, have shortterm profit aims; governments, weary of the slow progress towards poverty alleviation, support biofuels as a quick-fix for energy security and livelihood promotion. Yet not all private sector investment in agriculture is so easily dismissed as opportunistic, nor are all government positions as sanguinely idealistic. “All agriculture is tough,” said one project manager overseeing the pilot  !  5!  Chapter!1!–!Introduction!  stages of a Jatropha project.8 Warning against views of biofuels as a path to quick fortune, and explaining his company’s long-term plans, he cautioned: “it takes time, you can’t rush it.” For some private investors, environmental commodities represent financial investments that mesh their fiscal goals with their non-monetary values. And for some, such as the project manager quoted, longer-term, stable investments take precedence over short-term gains. Those who perceive biofuels as an emerging, small-scale market with long-term potential growth are at odds with those seeing a rapidly booming industry ripe for quick turnovers and short-term exploitation. Identities and sector-specific roles are relevant to positions on biofuels, but they do not, on their own, sufficiently explain the positions, debates, and alliances that form. As with other renewable energies, resource extraction activities, development paths, technologies, and responses to environmental problems, debates over biofuels are difficult to track, characterized by rapidly changing frames and alliances, and highly integrated with multiple sets of existing grievances and interests. Resource extraction, agricultural production, and commercial activities along the east African coast can be—and are—read through multiple lenses, and overlapping explanations tell different stories about the same ecosystems and people. In this dissertation, I propose a framework of contentious political economy, linking political economy with theories of resistance and social movements, to shed light on this dynamic and ongoing contestation over biofuels. Political and economic forces acting at both local and transnational scales intersect with past contentious debates, producing rapid and strategic positional changes. The intersections of multiple streams of contention, from previously-existing social movements and campaigns, create incentives that often come into conflict, resulting in fluctuating and dynamic responses by various actors. The contentious political economy framework provides the tools to clarify these muddied streams of contention that use biofuels as part of their complex sets of claims and positions. It offers a systematic approach to discern patterns and relationships among overlapping and intersecting narratives, alliances, movements and counter-movements. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 8  !  Interview with a private sector biofuel project investor, September 2010, Tanzania. 6!  Chapter!1!–!Introduction!  1.2 CONTESTATION & A NEW POLITICAL ECONOMY OF FUEL What is the significance of this contestation over a single, and, in global economic terms, minor market and commodity? Although biofuels remain a small (if growing) economic sector, they occupy a disproportionately prominent position in social and political discourse and in media attention. Further, they occupy a significant ideological and symbolic position in a series of debates over power and control at international, national, and local scales, and in the shifting configuration of relations among states, societies, and corporations. Biofuels, initially viewed as an environmental solution and a tool of resistance, have become hotly contested and a tool of both challengers of power and power-holders within the dominant decision-making and production systems. Finding a way to protect the environment and provide space for marginalized communities to have voice in resource production and governance choices requires understanding the multiple interests and alliances that form within and across state, corporate, and community sectors, as well as the intersections of local and global political, economic, and social forces. For a future that has any hope of finding sustainable ways forward for energy, food, and livelihood structures, we must better understand how these systems are imagined, developed, communicated, and contested. Beyond understanding an emerging contender in the energy field and addressing an issue of current interest in the policy and academic literature, this work provides insight into the driving question of why multiple sets of actors so dramatically and rapidly change their positions on, and alliances around, environmental commodities and technologies. Social movements are often conceptualized, at least in popular media, as resistors and oppressors and other polarized oppositions. The case of biofuels, though, reveals vividly the limits of such dichotomous characterizations for complex political and environmental issues. In this broader dialogue over the future of the environment and development, biofuels projects and conservation activities are drawn into global debates over how to organize and govern resource extraction and use, and how to distribute the accompanying costs and benefits.  !  7!  Chapter!1!–!Introduction!  The project’s findings have implications for understanding resistance and activism, and for emerging state-society relations, particularly where global economic forces and corporations are involved. Rather than an explanation for a specific outcome, the findings offer insight into how identities are activated and manipulated in claim-making processes. They also provide clues as to how and why some communities are able to coalesce, while others remain divided. These differences are mediated by economic incentives, past experiences of exclusion, and transnational market and advocacy forces. The contentious political economy framework offers a systematic approach for identifying how international economic forces influence power distribution and the actions and responses of states, corporations, and communities—not just for biofuels, but for a range of natural resources and development initiatives.  1.3 OUTLINE OF THE DISSERTATION To track and explain the rapid and polarized shifts that have occurred around these alternative fuels, this project analyzes three critical episodes of contention through the framework of contentious political economy. Applied to the 2000-2007 period of optimism, 2007-2009 deep divides of food versus fuel, and 2009-2012 period of uncertainty around land grabs, the framework provides an analytical structure for identifying past related cycles of contention, economic forces, ruling power structures and actions of resistance, changing discourse, and relevant ecological characteristics. To examine these episodes, I draw on original fieldwork from two illustrative case studies in coastal Kenya and Tanzania, observations of international negotiations over food and land, and secondary research on land deals, biofuels projects, and the political economy of energy commodities. In Tanzania, I conducted fieldwork in both the capital, Dar es Salaam, and in communities along the Rufiji River, over a series of visits from August 2010 to March 2011; in Kenya, I spent time in both the capital, Nairobi, and in communities in the Tana delta, over a series of visits interspersed with the Tanzanian fieldwork. Research included site visits, formal interviews, and informal meetings and observations of meetings with government officials, company officials, NGOs, and independent researchers. I also gathered primary and secondary data from  !  8!  Chapter!1!–!Introduction!  researchers, journalists, and consultants working in and studying the eastern Africa region, to acquire a broader historical and political understanding of the dynamics of resource control along the coast. Over the next seven chapters, I will explore the shifting dynamics of biofuels, using these cases to demonstrate the value of the proposed joint analytic lens. These illustrative cases delve into the details of specific projects and specific communities to demonstrate how positions changed and how various identities and interests became relevant at different points in time. These are not the only empirical evidence used in the project, though: the case studies are supplemented and made richer by drawing on a wider range of empirical observations for the analysis, including broader global cases, stories, and events. Chapter 2 introduces biofuels, outlining the differences between different kinds of fuels from organic sources and explaining the focus of this project on bioethanol and biodiesel. This more technical background, along with a summary of the economic growth of this sector, provides the foundation for understanding the political negotiations surrounding these commodities through the rest of the dissertation. To provide concrete examples for what could otherwise be a very abstract set of theories, the chapter also elaborates the specific case studies of proposed biofuels projects in coastal east Africa. The chapter delves into the specifics of Tanzania and Kenya, highlighting the major cases that informed the development of the theoretical framework and that provide examples and illustrations of the central arguments. To clarify, the project draws heavily on cases in two countries that are often used as comparative cases in political science scholarship. Yet, as will be further elaborated, these cases are not independent instances of biofuels debates, and the investigation does not identify independent and dependent variables with sufficient variation to justify a strict comparative approach. Instead, the project takes more broadly the global case of biofuels contestation, and uses specific instances of these debates in two particular regions to explore these dynamics and probe the intersections of global and local pressures. The language used in this dissertation often refers to comparative actions, where the cases are examined and contrasted to see where events and conditions align, converge, diverge, or differ.  !  9!  Chapter!1!–!Introduction!  As the reader comes across these terms and analytic efforts, it is important to remember that a stricter comparative approach was not used in spite of these suggestive parallels and differences. The cases in Kenya and Tanzania drove the development of the analytical framework, revealing the limits of using only a political economy or only a sociological lens to understand the relationships among and positions of actors. This iterative empirical and theoretical project negates these studies as independent cases through which theories of resistance and activism can be tested, although it allows them to be mined for clues as to the kinds of pressures and relationships that emerge and interact, and that are relevant for future study. Further, the clarity I hope is conveyed through the following chapters—where positions, relationships, and divisions within and across sectors and communities around biofuels over time seem to follow clear trends—these patterns were not obvious at the outset of this work, but were revealed through the development of this project. Consequently, this dissertation does not reflect a comprehensive account of all biofuels contestation, but rather opens numerous paths for future study, and provides the framework for delving further into these complex dynamics and debates. Thus, for this project, rather than a full analysis of each case study site, anecdotal and illustrative examples are offered from across the case study regions to reveal some of the myriad levels of political, economic, and social forces at play. These demonstrate the need to integrate multiple analytic lenses, and point to a range of additional comparative studies that could then be undertaken to more fully explore the impact of these intersecting and interacting pressures. The contributions of using these particular places in the dissertation are three-fold: first, otherwise-abstract and often-invisible relationships between global and local forces become more visible when explored through specific cases: the role of distant investors, transnational advocacy networks, and locally-relevant identity politics become easier to conceptualize and grasp in the context of specific actors, particular companies, and named ethnic groups. Second, the use of more than one country and company—using several biofuels proposals in two countries—reveals that this is not the function of an idiosyncratic corporation, government, or community, but instead occurs in multiple places, and often in similar ways, or with similar pressures. And third, the juxtaposition of cases demonstrates the links across multiple, otherwise-  !  10!  Chapter!1!–!Introduction!  isolated cases. In these debates, some of the strategies used by proponents and opponents alike referenced the events in other places and other communities—either the positive experiences with development or the negative experiences of dispossession in other poor, rural communities. Kenya and Tanzania thus provide specific illustrations and linked examples of the discourses, positions, strategies, and allegiances that emerged around biofuels over the course of a decade. Further, chapter 2 offers additional details and justification for the methodology by which the case studies are analyzed, along with the methods through which broader political economy relations, contestation, and connections between local conditions and global forces are explored. These methodological details are outlined in this chapter with the market and technical data (rather than in the introduction), to allow the reader to set off into the theoretical chapters with these analytical claims and intentions freshly in mind. This placement also allows readers initially unfamiliar with biofuels to understand the significance of the particular resource before delving into the methodological particulars. With a general understanding of the commodity of focus, and their place in global economic and agricultural systems, the reader will be able to grasp more concretely the political, social, and ecological questions raised by their production, and the strategies used for exploring their contested status. In chapters 3 and 4, I develop the ‘contentious political economy’ framework, using three discrete episodes of contention to provide a structure for understanding the quickly-shifting positions around biofuels that have unfolded over the past decade. Chapter 3 provides the theoretical backbone of the project, developing the lens through which the complex interactions and negotiations can be understood, and how, more broadly, we can begin to understand the intersection between the current political economy system and natural resource politics. Chapter 4 elaborates the framework of intersecting streams of contention (multiple social movements and sets of interests that intersect and shift) and of the episodes of contention (three phases of contestation over biofuels that reveal the changing discourses and alliances over these commodities). These two chapters, taken together, explain how the framework extends existing theoretical work on contentious politics to consider more deliberately political economy and the relationship of  !  11!  Chapter!1!–!Introduction!  global market pressures with local political decisions. In them, I contend that explicitly recognizing the economic dimensions of resource governance provides insight into the social and political dynamics that surround the debates over biofuels. Moreover, they suggest that taking economics as central (rather than as an additional or incidental component of a political analysis) provides further insight into the contestation over biofuels by specifying the interactive elements of economics as both drivers of and responses to actors’ interests, behavioral patterns, and political opportunities and threats. Building on existing contentious politics, international political economy, and political ecology work, this framework offers a structure for making sense of the dynamic and continually shifting alliances and movements around natural resource governance in the context of transnational markets and environmental activism. The theoretical framework developed in this chapter will be further elaborated through illustrative examples from global contestation over biofuels, with particular attention to the two cases from coastal east Africa. Through an analysis that draws on the approaches of event histories, chapters 5-7 divide debates over biofuels into discrete episodes, which link the dominant economic interests involved in promoting and resisting biofuels with changes over time in the dominant discourses about these alternative fuels. These three chapters form the empirical heart of the project. Chapter 5 explores the early episode in the international debates over biofuels, where optimism is the driver and biofuels are largely seen as a tool of contestation and resistance by those challenging dominant systems; this investigation is needed to identify the ways in which resistance can be articulated and co-opted. The case studies are used to demonstrate the ways in which the language of marginality and emptiness were used in specific places—namely, eastern Africa—to introduce these projects and how information access and mapping became tools of control and resistance. Chapter 6 begins at the height of the food crisis, and continues through to the financial crisis, investigating the role of crisis events in opening up space (through both political opportunities and threats) for challengers and responders to control discourse and form alliances and coalitions. Further, the chapter considers how fictitious and abstract markets, far from sites of  !  12!  Chapter!1!–!Introduction!  production, can nonetheless interact with the ecologies of resources in ways that require insights from both political ecology and political economy. The analysis builds on the regional case studies, focusing especially on the ways in which discursive framings of food security and access were used in Tanzania. This case shows the power of the surge in the sector’s economic value and the emergence of doubt about their environmental and social benefits from previous champions. Chapter 7 takes on the third episode of contention around land grabs, to show that the current period of contestation builds on long-standing patterns of inequalities and histories of grievances, and to demonstrate how tools of resistance and contestation, especially contentious repertoires and performance, are used to advance claims. The chapter highlights how long-standing concerns over food availability and access in eastern Africa provided the backdrop for new conversations about agricultural production and land-use decisions. Taking as its starting point these fractured movements and counter-movements, Chapter 7 uses empirical evidence, particularly from Kenya’s Tana delta, to explore the performativity of resistance and assess the realignments of alliances and complex messaging for these fuels. In spite of fears of global land grabs and claims that domestic elites and international corporations are appropriating local lands, these processes are, in my evaluation and based on the case study evidence, far less predictable than such a characterization suggests. To synthesize the insights developed throughout the dissertation, chapter 8 brings together the three episodes of contention. Analyzed as discrete periods in the empirical chapters, the concluding chapter draws out a more coherent picture of the contestation over time and across space. Further, the chapter investigates how the theoretical framework of contentious political economy provides tools that apply beyond the specific commodity and examples studied in this dissertation, by offering a way of looking at muddy cases of renewable energy, agricultural and energy systems, and the complex links between humans and the environment.  !  13!  Chapter!1!–!Introduction!  1.4 THE BROADER IMPLICATIONS Standing beside a smoking mound of dirt and wood in a corner of Ruvu South—under which the trees of the protected area are being transformed into charcoal—it is difficult to fault enthusiasts of biofuels for championing alternatives to such deforestation. Yet later, seeing swaths of land to the horizon being converted to industrial agriculture for Jatropha, it is equally easy to sympathize with their opponents, given the implications of these transformations for valuable ecosystems with vulnerable landholders and land-users. Narratives describing the biofuels plantation in Kisarawe have ranged from portraying them as a threat to the remaining coastal forest and encroachment on sensitive ecosystems; a competitor for land needed for producing food; a solution to energy shortages and alternative to the forestdestroying charcoal industry; and a much-needed development opportunity for impoverished communities. Moreover, claims over land along the coast gained potency in the context of price spikes for staple foods, which affected already-impoverished rural communities. Further, the case of Ruvu South and the adjacent Jatropha plantation was only one of many similar stories from across rural, coastal east Africa. These projects and cases are not viewed in isolation by advocates or opponents of biofuels, and thus are part of a larger, complex set of competing framings of rural development, energy production, and agricultural organization. The insights generated by this project into biofuels negotiations demonstrate the value of the contentious political economy framework for understanding shifting contention. Biofuels, as an illustrative case, reveal the framework’s usefulness in unpacking how global market forces and economic incentives influence negotiations around local resources, and how the development of commodities and technologies provide political opportunities for the emergence of new episodes in previously-established cycles of contention. More broadly, this analytic framework helps clarify debates around environmental “solutions” linked to the growing area of economic development termed “green commerce” by some. Other issues of renewable energy technologies—for instance wind energy, solar power, or, especially, hydropower—might be better understood through the multifocal lens, combining political economy, ecology, and social contention, that contentious political economy provides.  !  14!  Chapter!1!–!Introduction!  Identifying the wider interests and worldviews of groups concerned with energy, resource use and ownership, costs and benefit sharing, and global social and ecological goals makes it easier to understand the varying positions and debates of movements over multiple issues and projects. Rather than an incoherent and constantly changing scene of contention, the positions can be seen as quite consistent if the broader positions and goals are analyzed, and if activist groups are seen as participating in a series of movements with distinct histories and repertoires of contention. The current push for clean energy along with new pathways for development in the global South thus position biofuels as both a concrete commodity and a symbolic representative at the centre of agrifood, energy, and sustainable development debates.  !  15!  Chapter!2!–!Biofuels!  CHAPTER 2 – BIOFUELS By late 2012, the urgent need for a solution to rising greenhouse gas emissions was more obvious than ever, with a European Union (EU) report announcing that in 2011, carbon dioxide emissions had increased by 3%—representing an “all-time high”: 34 billion tonnes (Olivier et al. 2012:6). The report further pronounced a decade-based average increase of 2.7%—in spite of a decline in 2008 (Olivier et al. 2012:6), when oil prices spiked (NRCAN 2010). The need for a shift in energy sources was evident even at the beginning of the century, though, and the search for climate-friendly alternatives—that would not threaten economic growth—was part of what spurred broad interest in liquid biofuels. It was not only a question of climate that catalyzed interest in biofuels, though. Had atmospheric carbon concerns been the sole driver, states should have considered them more quickly and centrally, perhaps in the early 1990s with the signing of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. Further, as emerging scientific evidence questioned their contributions to climate-saving goals, the international community should have paused in unison, and focused attention on biofuels feedstocks and production systems with the lowest carbon footprints. Instead, far more than environmental considerations drove the interest in—and opposition to—biofuels projects. Beyond carbon emissions lie a number of interacting and conflicting goals, concerns, and claims about the future of energy, agriculture, land use, and economics. When the EU released their 2012 findings on global carbon emissions, views in the international community had fractured and fragmented multiple times over the potential for biofuels to replace carbon-intensive fossil fuels, or even to contribute in any way to energy security, rural development, or environmental goals. In the interim, biofuel consumption in road transport had increased from 819 000 TJ in 2005 to 2 478 000 TJ in 2011, a three-fold increase in 6 years (EU 2012:32). This represented substantial growth for a new sector, though still small in the context of global energy use. By 2012, all renewable sources combined still supplied less than one-fifth of total global energy consumption (16.7%, according to the EU report, EU 2012:21). The position biofuels occupy in political and social attention, though, far outweighs their energy-  !  16!  Chapter!2!–!Biofuels!  production significance and economic position within that market. In 2011, the global biofuels market was estimated at $83 billion, larger, according to one report, than the global coffee market (Gerasimchuk et al. 2012:6). Biofuels emerged internationally within the last decade as hot new commodities, with attention at all scales: producers from multinational corporations to individual farmers; regulators and policy-makers from national governments to local authorities; consumers from industry sectors to car-owners; and advocacy groups and activists from international organizations to neighbourhood associations. These fuels occupy new space as both opportunities and threats to existing producers and consumers in both energy and agricultural sectors. As cultivated crops, they offer agricultural producers a new outlet for their goods. As energy goods, they represent competing markets by diverting foodstuffs into feedstocks. As energy alternatives, they provide energy companies with new avenues for growth. And as occupiers of land, they compete with other land use plans and crops from conservationists, pastoralists, and non-feedstock farmers. By their very position at the crux of two industries, each holding social heft, political weight, and economic clout, biofuels stir up a maelstrom of controversy. Before delving into these debates, and the ramifications of the contestation for power, territory, livelihoods, and the environment, this chapter first provides an outline of these fuels and the markets that have developed around them. It also delineates the methodology and cases that underpin this investigation of the contentious political economy of biofuels. The first section of this chapter explains what biofuels are, in simplified technical terms, and outlines their production methods and market dynamics. In the second section, the chapter introduces the two east African case studies of the dissertation, which reveal the value of the contentious political economy framework (developed in chapter 3) for understanding the shifting alliances, campaigns, and discourses around biofuels. The third section outlines and justifies the project’s methodology, both in the field and in subsequent analysis. This last section clarifies the tradition of scholarship to which the dissertation aims to contribute, the strategies and limitations of fieldwork, and the ways in which primary observation and secondary investigations are combined to develop and demonstrate the value of the analytical framework.  !  17!  Chapter!2!–!Biofuels!  2.1 LIQUID FUELS FROM PLANTS Bioethanol is produced by fermenting sugar or converted starch, while biodiesel is generally produced through transesterification. For the latter, oils are combined with alcohol and a catalyst to create the diesel fuel, along with glycerine, a byproduct (see Figure 2.1 for a diagram of these processes). “Generational” divides based on feedstocks are generally used to convey information about source and process of production, and provide a shorthand way of conveying differences among these fuels. Yet these terms can produce some confusion, as not all analysts and organizations follow the same definitions. ‘First generation’ biofuels generally refer to those derived from food crops (palm oil, rapeseed, sugarcane, and maize, for example). For some, ‘second generation’ fuels describe those produced from non-food crops and food waste (such as the Jatropha planned for the field adjacent to Ruvu South). Under this categorization, second generation fuels thus refer to biofuels that do not directly compete with food crops (a concern that dominated biofuels debates from 2007-2009, and will be explored in chapter 6). However, in spite of being inedible, in terms of its production biodiesel from Jatropha is much closer to biofuels from food crops such as palm and other oil-producing plants than to biofuels derived from agricultural and forestry waste products. For those less concerned about the food/non-food crop distinction, and more interested in transmitting information about the technological processes of conversion to fuel, the term second generation biofuels refers more specifically to lignocellulosic biofuels (also described as cellulosic biofuels, see, for instance, Eisentraut 2010). Some analysts split “conventional” (first generation) from “advanced” (second and third generation) biofuels, based on their feedstock to energy conversion processes (Gerasimchuk et al. 2012:4). Second generation fuels are produced from lignin and cellulose obtained from multiple sources including crop residues such as corn stover and rice husks, grasses such as switchgrass and miscanthus, and wood (Gerasimchuk et al. 2012:4, Eisentraut 2010:41-42). The fuels can be produced through processes such as hydrolysis and fermentation (Pimentel 2009) and pyrolysis (Demirbas et al. 2009:1748, also see same for discussion of other chemical, biochemical, and thermochemical conversions of biomass to energy). Although Wei (2011:1, citing UN-Energy  !  18!  Chapter!2!–!Biofuels!  2007:13) comments that a 2007 UN report estimated lignocellulosic biofuels would be commercialized by 2015, Pimentel (2009:211) expresses significant doubt about the viability of liquid biofuels—including lignocellulosic fuels—in light of their negative energy return (Pimentel 2009:209) and dubious thermodynamic benefits. Beyond these crop and crop waste fuels, a ‘third generation’ is under development, largely based on algae sources. While corporate investment in biofuels will be explored in subsequent chapters, this dissertation will not provide much detail on these third-generation fuels as most are still in early research and development phases (projections of algae-based biofuels markets are found in Emerging Markets Online 2011, and for more information on how corporate partnerships are proliferating for algae-based biofuels, see BP 2009 and Lemos-Stein 2009. Also see, for example, Wesoff’s 2009 summary of venture capital investments in algae biofuels, and Novozymes’ 2009 announcement on second generation biofuels). Figure 2.1: Bioethanol and biodiesel manufacturing process (reprinted from Dufey 2006:3)  Production systems, agriculture, and environmental impacts How biofuels contribute to climate change mitigation and social development depends on a number of factors linked to their feedstocks, production methods, and markets, as well as on the policies designed to support and regulate them (Dauvergne & Neville 2010:635). As underscored by McCarthy (2010), biofuels differ in their production requirements, from fertilizers and pesticides to water and labour, and, based on these demands, vary in their net energy and carbon balances (see also Searchinger 2010, Lapola 2010, Fingerman et al. 2010). These depend on a range of factors, spanning technological access and use, geography and climate, and production  !  19!  Chapter!2!–!Biofuels!  decisions and land control. The language used to describe these plant-based fuels is itself politicized, and often linked to these production differences; some researchers differentiate between the scale and type of production of bioethanol and biodiesel by calling small-scale initiatives “biofuels” and large-scale, industrialized projects “agrofuels” (see, for example, McMichael 2010:609 for a discussion of this term). Others, though, use the terms interchangeably, without these political implications. Some scientists describe agriculture as the biggest driver of habitat degradation (see, for instance, Laurance 2010:73), and the characteristics of corporatized agriculture and forestry have detrimental effects on the environment. This is particularly true for water resources, since largescale (and especially irrigated) production provides landowners and governments with incentives to disrupt wetland ecosystems, pump groundwater, divert rivers, and develop new dams. These have potentially detrimental effects on biodiversity and ecosystem integrity (see, for example, Sala et al. 2009 on biodiversity consequences of biofuel production and McCarthy 2010 on the political ecology of oil palm plantations). While environmental impacts vary by feedstock type and crop production methods, the main commercially-viable biofuels tend to follow industrial production processes. As outlined by Dauvergne & Neville (2010:635), biofuels feedstocks tend to vary nationally and geographically, and largely map on to pre-existing agricultural production in different regions, with crop types based on environmental conditions and previous cultivation decisions. For example, US biofuels production is primarily corn-based bioethanol and Brazil mainly produces sugarcane bioethanol, while biodiesel from rapeseed is dominant in the EU and from oil palm in Indonesia and Malaysia. As noted, many bioethanol and biodiesel fuels—both first and second generation—are derived from agricultural and agro-forestry products, and consequently are caught up in industries that are increasingly and overwhelmingly controlled by large and powerful multinational corporations (see Clapp & Fuchs 2009, Dauvergne & Neville 2009, Holt-Giménez & Shattuck 2009, McMichael 2009). These corporations, particularly for new commodity chains that now involve the energy industry, create and reinforce a production and consumption system that rewards large-scale outputs, predictability in supply chains, low variability in inputs, and stable investment opportunities. This results in a few companies controlling markets and distribution,  !  20!  Chapter!2!–!Biofuels!  and sometimes the means of production directly. Consequently, they provide substantial economic incentives to reduce variation in supply, consolidate production, and reduce diversified operations. In the context of agricultural production, this leads to incentives to shift towards large- instead of small-scale farms, monocultures instead of mixed crops, cash crops instead of subsistence agriculture, and irrigated rather than rain-fed crops. It also prompts a shift away from variable recession (or flood-plain) agriculture, along with other practices that require consistent short-term flexibility and adaptation, as these present challenges to predictable supply chains. Market dynamics and production In light of changing policies and oil prices, the market for biofuels appears to be increasing, although the rate of growth may be slowing. Compared with solid biomass, liquid biofuels represent only a small fraction of energy production, particularly for electricity. In 2005, global electricity use was 65 297 PJ and bio-electricity generation contributed 659 PJ (or ~1%) of that amount (18,138 TWh and 183.4 TWh, respectively, as reported by Demirbas et al. 2009:17491750). Of that bio-electricity production, liquid biofuels represented less than 1% (while solid biomass was 73.5%, biogas 13.5%, and municipal waste just over 12%, Demirbas et al. 2009:1750). Yet over the span of a decade, liquid biofuels production increased dramatically, especially for the transportation sector. From 2000 to 2005, global production of bioethanol doubled and for biodiesel quadrupled, with oil production, though much higher in absolute values, increasing by only 7% in that same timeframe (Olver & James 2006:41). And in the subsequent 6 years, biofuel consumption in road transport increased from 819 PJ in 2005 to 2478 PJ in 2011,9 with the US consuming nearly half the 2011 value (EU 2012:31-32). In energy terms, Lamers et al. (2011:2655) report increases in global bioenergy production and trade from 2000 to 2009, with bioethanol jumping from 340 to over 1540 PJ, and biodiesel surging from 30 to 572 PJ. This represents a more than 4-fold increase in bioethanol and 19-fold increase in biodiesel, and signals strong relative growth of the sector, in spite of its still-small absolute figures. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 9  Numbers in the report were given in terajoules (TJ), which are equal to 1012 joules, and converted into petajoules (1015 joules), to match the units used by Lamers et al. (2011).  !  21!  Chapter!2!–!Biofuels!  The growth of production can be seen in Figure 2.2. In volume, in 2004, bioethanol was 30.5 billion litres (bnl), and biodiesel 2.1 bnl, jumping to 33 and 3.9 bnl, respectively, in 2005 (IEA 2007:3). 2007 saw 53 bnl of bioethanol and 10 bnl of biodiesel produced (Sawin et al. 2010:13). In 2008, bioethanol production was estimated at 68 bnl, biodiesel at 15 bnl, and total biofuel production at 83 bnl (Eisentraut 2010:21, with Sawin et al. 2010:13 putting the figure for bioethanol at 69 bnl). According to the Global Renewable Fuels Alliance (GRFA), global bioethanol fuel production for 2009 was 73.9 bnl (GRFA 2010), and annual world biofuel production exceeded 100 bnl (GRFA 2009), with Sawin et al. (2010:13) estimating bioethanol was 76 bnl and biodiesel 17 bnl and WorldWatch reporting the total production at 90 bnl (Wright 2011). In 2010, global bioethanol production equaled 86.7 bnl (22.9 billion gallons, according to European Biofuels Technology Platform 2009), biodiesel was roughly 20 bnl (OECD/FAO 2011:79), and total biofuels reported to be 105 bnl (Wright 2011). And in 2012, total biofuels production was predicted to be 113 bnl (30 billion gallons, according to Lawrence & Adamson 2012:1), with bioethanol in the range of 85 bnl (Baker 2012) and biodiesel just over 25 bnl (OECD/FAO 2011:79). Figure 2.2: Overview of global biofuel production, 2004-2012, in billions of litres 120! 100! 80! Bioethanol!  60!  Biodiesel! Total!  40! 20! 0! 2004!  !  2005!  2007!  2008!  2009!  2010!  2012!  22!  Chapter!2!–!Biofuels!  By the end of the first decade of the 2000s, the primary producers for biofuels were the US and Brazil (GRFA 2009), dominating the sector with bioethanol production. In 2006, Brazil was the world’s leader in bioethanol production, followed closely by the US, while Germany led biodiesel production (see Table 2.1 for the top three producers of each type at the time). Studies from 2007 found similar trends, with the US and Brazil producing over 70 percent of the world’s bioethanol, and the EU over 60 percent of biodiesel (Forge 2007:1, and Davis 2007, as noted by Dauvergne & Neville 2009:1094). For some of these production leaders, the quantity of feedstock used for fuels is substantial. For instance, by 2008 over a third of corn crops in the US were used for bioethanol (Chakrabortty 2008) and in the first part of the 2000s, Brazil used almost half of its sugarcane for ethanol production (Moreira et al. 2005). By 2008, the countries of the EU were responsible for much of the world’s production and consumption of biodiesel, with rapeseed dominating as their biodiesel feedstock (Forge 2007), and roughly half of their combined vegetable oil production being used for biodiesel (Chakrabortty 2008). Germany remained the world’s top biodiesel producer from 2007-2011, with the US, Brazil, and Argentina all contenders for the position (Sims 2011). Analysts predicted these numbers could change, though, as oil-palm producing countries looked set to increase their conversion of palm oil to biodiesel. Further, while only a handful of countries dominate global production and consumption, for many small developing economies, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, even markets that are small in absolute terms can represent important agricultural income. Table 2.1: Top producers of biofuels in 2006 (from Dauvergne & Neville 2009:1095, using modified data from Olver & James 2006 and Davis 2007).! Biofuel production in 2006 (millions of litres, feedstock) Bioethanol Biodiesel Brazil (16 500, sugarcane) US (16 200, corn) China (3000, corn, wheat)  !  Germany (1920, rapeseed) France (500, soybean) US (300, rapeseed)  23!  Chapter!2!–!Biofuels!  Initial movement in the biofuels sector was uneven, with early enthusiasm not fully translating to steady growth. In 2006, in spite of policy signals, the EU lamented that biofuels had “limited market penetration” and “still provides only a tiny fraction of the EU’s overall energy needs” (EU Committee 2006:12), and that same year oil still accounted for 96% of transport fuels globally (Olver & James 2006:12). And biofuel market demand remains fluctuating and uncertain, even after years of policy signals and technological developments. Five years later, the EU (2012:22) reported, citing BP (2012): “global biofuel production stagnated” in 2011, “rising by just 0.7%, the weakest annual growth since 2000.” This indicates in part that some countries may be reaching the upper limit of their ability to blend biofuels with regular gasoline and still be used in unmodified car engines (this is suggested to be the case in the US, which realized slowed growth in biofuel consumption in 2011, EU 2012:22). It also is a function of ecological and agricultural stochasticity, where lowered Brazilian consumption in 2011 was attributed to a poor sugar harvest (EU 2012:22). These uncertain markets reflect that the economics of the industry remain under debate—as with many other energy sectors, including fossil fuels. Several studies have revealed that biofuels production is highly subsidized. Pimentel (2009:208) cites a report by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (Koplow 2006) indicating that subsidies for bioethanol from corn in the US equal more than $6 billion per year, with Neeley (2007) suggesting these figures were in the range of $6.3 to $7.7 billion in 2007. Annual subsidies for biofuel production in OECD countries were shown to be at least $11 billion in 2006 (Upton 2007, as noted by Dauvergne & Neville 2009:1096). These subsidies remain a point of contention across countries, and, as chapter 6 shows, was one of the factors used by Brazil in 2008 to justify the superiority of its sugarcane ethanol to US corn ethanol. As noted by Dauvergne & Neville (2009:1094), Brazil had removed direct government subsidies from its bioethanol industry (Moreira et al. 2005:29), and in 2006, discounting US import taxes, its sugarcane-based bioethanol was $0.22/gallon cheaper than its US corn-based competitor (with a cost of $0.81/gallon, Goldemberg 2007). Policy support has been a major driver of biofuel markets, and, as has been the case over the past decade, remains in flux. As with the economics, policy uncertainty remains a barrier to the sector’s continued growth. In spite of skepticism about the social and environmental benefits of  !  24!  Chapter!2!–!Biofuels!  biofuels, though, many governments continue to put in place supportive measures. An industry report from 2012 reports at least 31 countries have biofuels mandates (Lawrence & Adamson 2012:1), and Wei (2011:1) points to a series of pro-biofuels policies in countries across the world, naming Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, Colombia, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Malawi, Malaysia, Mexico, Mozambique, Philippines, Senegal, South Africa, Thailand, and Zambia among them. 2.2 CASE STUDIES & FIELD METHODS: BIOFUELS PROJECTS IN TANZANIA & KENYA To explore biofuels politics, I conducted fieldwork in Tanzania and Kenya from August 2010 to February 2011. Into the total global biofuels market, Kenya and Tanzania each contribute only a small part. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimate production of bioethanol in Tanzania at 29 million litres (mnl) per year (OECD/FAO 2011:92, based on estimates of average production from 2008-2010). In predictions for the biofuels market for 2011-2020, they estimate production will be 55 mnl per year (see Table 2.2, from OECD/FAO 2011). This projection represents large gains for the country, but in the context of global production—where the total average annual production is 91 657 mnl, and is anticipated to grow to 154 962 mnl—Tanzania represents only a tiny fraction of this total (in contrast with the US, Brazil, the EU, China, and Thailand, for instance). The numbers are similar for biodiesel (see Table 2.3, also from OECD/FAO 2011). Tanzania’s current estimated production, of 50 mnl, and estimated future production, of 61 mnl per year, barely registers in the global totals, of 17 608 and 41 917 mnl per year (current and predicted production amounts, respectively). In trade terms, Tanzania’s 2008-2010 bioethanol use was domestic, with projections for 2020 involving a slight shift to an export-dominated bioethanol market, with net trade changing from importing 4 mnl to exporting 3 mnl per year (OECD/FAO 2011:92). The picture was different for biodiesel, with net trade projected to decrease from 50 mnl to 3 mnl per year, but this reflected a starting point for biodiesel of no domestic use (OECD/FAO 2011:93). Kenya has had a similarly limited role in global biofuels markets. A 2006 report from the International Institute for Environment and Development indicated that Kenya’s production of  !  25!  Chapter!2!–!Biofuels!  bioethanol was 3 mnl per year (of the 3.9 bnl produced per year by 2005, according to IEA 2007:3), and it was not listed among the main biodiesel-producing countries (Dufey 2006:11). Yet from the perspective of land negotiations, speculative interest, and media attention, biofuels have taken on a significant role in the energy and agricultural politics of these two countries. Rather than focusing on the major players in biofuels production—such as the US, the EU, Brazil, China, and Thailand, as discussed above—or even on the developing country members of that list, this project takes as its focus more marginal countries implicated in the furor over biofuels. These represent the majority of developing countries swept up in interest over biofuels. For many such countries, even in small amounts these fuels could have significant economic and territorial consequences. For small economies in the global South, new drivers of investment, especially in agricultural sectors, are of great significance. In Kenya and Tanzania, and other countries like them, export economies have cycled through a number of agricultural commodities (from tea and coffee to sisal and cotton). For these countries, an industry which has reached the scale of the coffee market could be a major player in their development strategies. Further, biofuels projects—and resistance to these—in both countries attracted international media attention and transnational advocacy efforts, thereby placing Kenya and Tanzania at the heart of questions around activism, mobilization, and new political economies of resources.  !  26!  Chapter(2(–(Biofuels(  Table 2.2: “Biofuel projections: Ethanol” (modified from OECD/FAO 2011:92 with some countries omitted. Note, the “total” row reflects the larger OECD/FAO sample, not the sum of the numbers listed in this modified version).  PRODUCTION (MNL) Average 2008-2010 North America Canada US Western Europe EU (27 member states) Oceania (developed) Australia Other (developed) Japan South Africa Sub-Saharan Africa Mozambique Tanzania Latin America & the Caribbean Argentina Brazil Peru Asia & Pacific China India Indonesia Malaysia Philippines Thailand Total  !  2020  Growth (%)  DOMESTIC USE (MNL)  Growth (%)  NET TRADE (MNL)  2011-2020  Average 2008-2010  2011-2020  Average 2008-2010  2020  2020  1483 42 857  2359 63 961  3.08 1.89  1530 44 663  2408 73 474  0.57 3.32  -48 -1806  -49 -9514  5651  16 316  10.5  7186  18 690  7.31  -1536  -2374  299  492  0.75  299  492  0.75  0  0  307 384  946 421  13.28 0.44  704 93  1715 47  5.81 0.07  -398 291  -769 374  25 29  59 55  6.17 7.14  21 33  29 52  0.56 5.97  4 -4  29 3  303 26 091 71  470 50 393 217  2.2 5.98 2.55  240 22 589 25  402 40 695 175  0.97 5.15 1.47  63 3502 46  68 9698 41  7189 1892 210 66 118 672 91 657  7930 2204 248 74 603 2111 154 962  0.71 1.78 0.99 0.8 12.74 9.32 3.98  7041 2109 169 87 263 599 91 821  6685 2818 168 85 450 1602 155 983  0.18 1.48 0.15 0.09 3.49 8.72 3.95  148 -217 41 -21 -144 73 3792  1246 -614 80 -11 153 509 11 012  27!  Chapter(2(–(Biofuels(  Table 2.3: “Biofuel projections: Biodiesel” (modified from OECD/FAO 2011:93 with some countries omitted. Values are listed in millions of litres (mnl). Note, the “total” row reflects the larger OECD/FAO sample, not the sum of the numbers listed in this modified version).  PRODUCTION (MNL) Average 2008-2010 North America Canada US Western Europe EU (27 member states) Oceania (developed) Australia Other (developed) South Africa Sub-Saharan Africa Mozambique Tanzania Latin America & the Caribbean Argentina Brazil Peru Asia & Pacific India Indonesia Malaysia Philippines Thailand Total  !  2020  Growth (%)  DOMESTIC USE (MNL)  Growth (%)  NET TRADE (MNL)  2011-2020  Average 2008-2010  2011-2020  Average 2008-2010  2020  2020  236 1658  594 4002  6.57 2.24  202 909  672 4757  3.65 5.39  34 748  -78 -755  9184  17 610  5.17  10 802  19 794  4.75  -1619  -2184  627  719  1.14  627  719  1.14  0  0  57  100  3.65  57  100  3.66  0  0  51 50  80 61  1.85 -0.13  0 0  32 58  1.47 159.22  51 50  48 3  1576 1550 174  3231 3139 130  3.36 2.66 3.74  247 1550 174  656 3139 315  2.13 2.66 4.35  1329 0 0  2576 0 -185  179 369 765 158 584 17 608  3293 811 1331 271 1697 41 917  26.87 6.65 3.96 3.97 8.15 5.99  241 272 206 158 561 16 314  3291 1100 500 200 1200 40 938  26.87 14.37 8.35 1.70 5.67 6.44  -61 98 559 0 24 2111  2 -289 831 71 497 2737  28!  Chapter(2(–(Biofuels(  For this project, I collaborated with institutional partners from Tanzania, Kenya, and France on an ongoing project on the value of ecosystem services provided by floods and the potential for land transformation in the floodplains.10 An emerging project developed by these partners on biofuels (termed “agrofuels” in their project) and their impact on coastal and wetland areas provided the opportunity for fruitful exchanges with natural and social scientists, community members, NGO activists, and others working in both countries. Much of the work for this dissertation was undertaken in conjunction with the activities of these broader projects, particularly those allowed by virtue of association with the flood valuation project. Consequently, many of these meetings, visits, and observations were permitted under the conditions of anonymity; thus, throughout the dissertation few participants are named, and many are referred to only by sector or general role. To situate the Rufiji delta and Tanzania more broadly, a few details about the region and country are helpful, particularly those related to agricultural development, social structures, and economic conditions. In a country of 46 million people, the Rufiji District, comprised of 19 administrative wards and one of the 6 districts of the Coast Region of Tanzania (Shemdoe & Kihila 2012:18), has a population of 203 000 (Hamerlynck et al. 2011:1438). With two major rivers—the Ruaha and Kilombero rivers—as its tributaries, the Rufiji River’s drainage basin spans 177 000km2 (Shemdoe & Kihila 2012:18), or roughly 18% of the country’s land area of just over 945 000km2 (New African 2011:50). The agricultural sector underpins Tanzania’s economy, accounting for roughly half of the country’s GDP, 85% of its exports, and 80% of its employment (New African 2011:50), but crop yields remain low and food insecurity is prevalent (Maltsoglu & Khwaja 2010:8), with estimates of 200 000 people experiencing starvation every  !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 10  GEOPAR and PACTER are joint projects with the French Institute of Research for Development, the University of Dar es Salaam, the National Museums of Kenya (NMK), and other partners (see http://www.ird.fr/kenya/representant_us/activities/stefanie.html for details on GEOPAR). The linked projects, which began in 2009, examine floods and development projects in wetland and coastal areas of East Africa, including Tanzania’s Rufiji delta and Kenya’s Tana delta. These build on work done by these partners in the early 2000s on participatory mapping, community-based management, and land tenure clarification (see Duvail et al. 2006, for further details), and they also contribute to ongoing work by the NMK, in conjunction with the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), University of Nairobi, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, and IRD, through the Kenya Wetlands Biodiversity Research Group (KENWEB). IRD acted as the author’s institutional host for fieldwork conducted from August 2010 to March 2011 in both Kenya and Tanzania, through SSHRC’s Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement.  !  29!  Chapter(2(–(Biofuels(  year (Habib-Mintz 2010:3985). Cassava and maize are the country’s staple food crops (Maltsoglu & Khwaja 2010:6). In terms of energy consumption and production, a 2007 report suggests the country has a high dependence on charcoal, with 85% of the urban population dependent on charcoal for household and small business needs, and over 70 000 people employed in the charcoal industry (van Beukering et al. 2007). In the country overall, Sosovele (2010:118) reports that over 90% of energy comes from biomass (wood for fuel), 8% from petroleum, and 2% from other electricity, which indicates a high national reliance on wood and wood products to meet both rural and urban energy needs. The majority of Tanzania’s poor population live in rural areas (Maltsoglu & Khwaja 2010:9), such as the Rufiji, and only 2% of rural households have access to electricity (Sosovele 2010:118). The Rufiji district is one of the poorest in the country, with agriculture as the main livelihood activity, followed by fishing and forest resources (Arvidson et al. 2009:14-15). The population is faced with many health challenges, from food insecurity (Arvidson et al. 2009:15) to high rates of malaria (Mutagonda et al. 2012:837). In Tanzania, interviews and meetings were held on several occasions with officials from two companies with interests in the Rufiji delta: Africa Green Oils (AGO) and Eco-Energy (formerly SEKAB). Staff from international organizations (the World Bank and USAID) and NGOs (HakiArdhi, EnviroCare, and Lawyers’ Environmental Action Team) were also interviewed. Site visits were made to four villages that AGO and Eco-Energy had approached: one had negotiated with AGO, and three had interacted with Eco-Energy. For the latter set of villages, focus group interviews were conducted during a trip to the Rufiji District from 14 to 18 October 2010. Discussions were held with the chairman and with groups of 5-7 villagers. Discussions with village leaders were mainly held in English, while discussions with villagers were conducted in Swahili, with the translation and moderation help of a Tanzanian field assistant. The villages and villagers are left unidentified to respect confidentiality agreements (see Figure 2.3 for a general map of the area). The groups were not representative of the diversity of the villages, but represent at least one set of community perspectives on the negotiations. In one village, all the  !  30!  Chapter(2(–(Biofuels(  small group representatives were men; in the other two villages at least one woman participated in each meeting. During this study period, I observed meetings and participated in informal discussions about land negotiations with government officials from the Tanzania Investment Centre, Ministry of Land, Ministry of Energy, and National Land Use Planning Commission. Informal meetings and exchanges of electronic communication were also valuable, including with local government officials, academics at the University of Dar es Salaam, and officials from aid agencies, intergovernmental organizations, and NGOs.  !  31!  Chapter(2(–(Biofuels(  Figure 2.3: Map of Rufiji delta. Ikwiriri, labeled on the map, was not one of the villages sampled in this project, but on the map provides a referent point for locating the Rufiji.  !  32!  Chapter(2(–(Biofuels(  In Kenya, in collaboration with a groundwater hydrologist, I visited 12 villages in the Tana delta in November and December 2010, most of which were predominantly Orma settlements (see Figure 2.4).11 As with Tanzania, a few details about Kenya, and the Tana delta in particular, provide context for the discussions to come. Kenya, with a population of roughly 39 million, has an agricultural sector dominated by smallholder farmers, and highly dependent on rain-fed crops (Owuor 2010). Like Tanzania, Kenya’s energy needs are met largely through wood, although at slightly lower levels than Tanzania with fuelwood (including charcoal) providing 68% of the energy supply, petroleum 22%, and electricity 9% (Diaby 2011:2). The Tana delta, on the country’s east coast, contains fragmented forest patches, representing important remnants of Kenya’s declining forest cover (Tabor et al. 2010:25). The delta is a mosaic landscape with coastal forest, riparian grasslands, dry shrubs, mangroves, wetlands, oxbow lakes, and tidal zones (see, e.g., Africa Business Foundation 2010), and, along with a number of endemic coastal forest species (see, e.g., Mbora & McPeek 2010 on red colobus and mangabey), is home to a number of human communities dependent on grazing, fishing, and agriculture. The region is predominantly rural and poor. In a survey of 69 districts in Kenya in 2005/2006, the Tana River district was ranked as the 5th poorest, with a poverty rate of 76.9% reflecting 191 856 people living below the Kenyan poverty line.12 The Tana delta, particularly in the areas of  !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 11  The villages visited were: Onkolde, Ozi, Danissa, Kikomo, Odole, Oda, Ngao, Tara, Tarassa, Dumi B, Witu, and Moa, as labeled on the map. We stayed in Garsen, and the project research team with which the author was affiliated also spent some time staying in TARDA’s guesthouses. Kipini was not sampled in this part of the study, but is a helpful referent point located at the river’s mouth. Oda and Tarassa were not sampled in the 2010 NovemberDecember visit to the delta, but they were part of the IRD groundwater study visits. 12 The poverty rate and position is reported based on data taken from the Kenya Integrated Household Budget Survey, from the Kenya Bureau of Statistics, as reported by Kenya Open Data (https://opendata.go.ke/Poverty/Poverty-Rate-by-District/i5bp-z9aq, accessed 14 December 2012). The report explains the data measure “the percent of population and number of poor below the Kenya poverty line of Ksh 1,562 per month in rural areas; and Ksh 2,913 in urban areas per per person per month; based on estimated expenditures on minimum provisions of food and non-food items.”  !  33!  Chapter(2(–(Biofuels(  interest for biofuels projects, experience variable rainfall, and the region is described as one with chronic food shortages and a food deficit (Africa Business Foundation 2010:107). During field visits, along with local field assistants, who also acted as translators, the hydrologist (an intern with IRD) and I took water samples from Tana village boreholes, and also consulted with groups of villagers in each location, with the permission of the village headman or chief. While most of the questions were focused on village water access and use, we also asked questions about land ownership and knowledge of corporate and parastatal projects in the area. The villager groups generally consisted of roughly 5 to 15 adults and, usually, several children. In some villages, we met with men and women separately, while in others, men and women gathered together—this decision was determined by the village leader and the community. Our research team did not question the division of groups (at least not to my knowledge), but took care to seek out and ensure the voices of women were included in some form whenever possible. Partners from communities in the delta provided hospitality, introductions, and information; a caveat of this research methodology is that perspectives were not obtained randomly, or from all groups, but were biased towards those felt to be important by the project’s community partners and towards those who felt comfortable expressing their views in light of our community liaisons and perceived affiliations. In both Kenya and Tanzania, the affiliations with existing projects offered invaluable entry points into communities and with local officials. Yet the affiliations, the reliance of certain networks of key informants and partners, and following local procedures of respecting village authority structures also limited the perspectives that were shared with me and the actors that I was able to access. It is difficult to judge the extent to which the views of the villagers with whom I spoke reflected the views of the wider community, particularly given that access to many villages was mediated by village authorities (headman or chief, in most cases), and often facilitated by local partners (each of whom had their own positions and motivations). This did not allow for a full understanding of the perspectives of villagers, and may have skewed the understanding of some of the concerns and perspectives of villagers.  !  34!  Chapter(2(–(Biofuels(  However, in light of the major goals of this project—to understand the intersections of strategic motivations with politicized identities, and distant political economy relationships with local social and political dynamics—even a set of perspectives that are not representative of the full diversity or strength of local views offers insights into the range of concerns and tactics of activists and respondents. In part, this project is particularly interested in the perspectives that are publicly voiced and activated, and so the perspectives of mobilized actors who find entry points for voicing and sharing their views, are of central importance in these dynamics. While other viewpoints might be more subtly inserted into local dynamics, the public, collective claimmaking efforts at the centre of this project are informed by even these limited interviews and meetings. Beyond community visits, I observed the gathering in Nairobi of Tana delta villagers for the NatureKenya-assisted court case hearing (described in detail in chapter 7), and the subsequent meeting with the Kenyan Vice-President, and was able to gather informal comments on the event. Observations were also gathered on development, conservation, and mapping plans at a meeting of the Kenya Wetlands Forum in Nairobi (held at the East African Wildlife Society office) and a government planning meeting for a wetlands atlas project. Informal meetings and exchanges of electronic communication were valuable, including with independent consultants, NGO representatives (including NatureKenya and the Red Cross), community-based organizations (including Tadeco), and a private company (Bedford Biofuels).  !  35!  Chapter(2(–(Biofuels(  Figure 2.4: Map of villages visited in the Tana delta for IRD groundwater study. The map shows the 12 villages visited in the study— Dumi B (2), Danissa (3), Onkolde (4), Ngao (5), Tarasaa (6), Oda (7), Tara (8), Kikomo (9), Odole (10), Moa (11), Witu (12), and Ozi (13)—along with reference points Garsen (1) and Kipini (14).  !  36!  Chapter(2(–(Biofuels(  2.3 METHODOLOGY In this project, the Kenyan and Tanzanian examples are used as single case studies—almost as heuristic devices—through which to explore various components of the dynamics of contention, rather than as classic comparative cases. In both the comparative politics and environmental history literatures, single case studies have been used effectively to shed light on broader social and political phenomena.13 Deep investigation of individual cases through exploratory questions provides insight into questions that, with an initial comparative lens, researchers might not think to look for. Further, they reveal nuances in the specific cases that might otherwise be missed completely when looking across cases and focusing on comparisons. Of course, it is possible to engage both in deep exploration of individual cases and comparisons across cases, and a dual investigation could be highly useful for understanding the dynamics of contestation over biofuels. In the current study, though, it was not evident at the outset what comparative dimensions could be investigated, as there were too many unknowns about the very nature of the contestation—which required deep probing into the cases—along with too many overlaps and links between the case studies to engage in strict comparative work. Further, even across time, within-case comparisons are loosely used in this project, but a more robust comparative approach first requires known dynamics from which to glean variables and conditions, which, at the beginning of this project, were not yet evident. For this research, the initial questions revolved around the reasons why some community resistance halted biofuels projects while other communities seemed unable to mobilize effectively, and asked why some protests were successful and others not. Closer investigation of the two cases revealed, however, that such a comparative question overlooked a number of dynamic elements of the interactions: first, that projects rarely continued smoothly or stopped !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 13 For example, in Weapons of the Weak, James Scott analyzes class relations and conflict in a single village in Malaysia, using the case to draw out a more general understanding of the ways in which poor peasants can carve out autonomous spaces even within a power structure that confines them (Scott 1985). Similarly, in Fish versus Power, Matthew Evenden focuses his attention on the Fraser River, looking at the politics involved in promoting and opposing hydropower development on the river over time, to explain why it remains an undammed exception to most large rivers, and to argue that while its development was a product of international pressures, local factors shaped how these pressures were expressed (Evenden 2004a).  !  37!  Chapter(2(–(Biofuels(  entirely (instead, they were altered, adapted, and shifted according to financial and political pressures). Second, communities were rarely unitary entities that mobilized or failed to do so (and so part of the investigation became how identities were formed and recruited, and not only what political opportunities became available). And third, different sets of historical grievances at different periods in time gained traction both locally and internationally, making the questions of protest, resistance, activism, and response relevant at multiple geographic and temporal scales. Prior to investigating the variables leading to specific outcomes, then, analysts must unpack these precursor questions, with attention to material and ideational pressures, incentives, and dynamics.14 The challenges—and importance—of studying the links between transnational and local settings and actors has been recognized in other areas of global environmental politics research. Miranda Schreurs, for example, points in her work to the value of a multilevel governance framework for analyzing issues that span politics, economics, and social realms and require coordinated and integrated responses from authorities across international, national, and local levels (see, for example, Schreurs 2010:88 and 2008:344, 346 on using a multilevel governance framework to study climate change, with particular attention to local governments). With that approach in mind, this project turns its gaze to local-level politics, histories, and authorities in the process of studying the international dynamics around biofuels. Rather than providing only a narrow look at two specific locations, the project claims to provide more general insights into transnational dynamics of the politics and economics of energy and agriculture, by showing that international discourses and interests are mediated and channeled through very local sites of production.  !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 14  The justification for single case study approaches here is therefore different than that used by King et al. (1994), for whom single regions, countries, or examples can be used as a source of multiple observations, and thus provide the sample sizes needed for the kind of quantitatively-informed studies they advocate to develop causal inferences. Of course, comparative projects within specific regions can be used to determine how different variables and actors combine and recombine in different pathways towards similar outcomes: McCarthy (2010) investigates pathways through which oil palm expansion occurs in Indonesia, using a comparative approach to document the paths of oil palm development in four villages in Sumatra, with a focus, in his words, on “how micro-processes that are linked to wider dynamics shape oil palm related agrarian change” (McCarthy 2010:821). Here, though, single case studies are used for in-depth probing of the dynamic relationships among actors, and the ways these changing interactions lead to shifting interests, ideas, and institutions. Following King et al. (1994), this project does attempt to consider these same regional studies across multiple time periods, and to examine numerous sets of interactions from the perspective of numerous different actors involved in contention.  !  38!  Chapter(2(–(Biofuels(  This project follows in the footsteps of political ecology work as carried out by Gerber et al. (2009:2886) on tree plantations in Ecuador and Cameroon, who specify “[i]nstead of doing a comparative analysis of both case studies, we use insights from each one of them to complement each other's results, which gives us a more complete picture of the issues involved in tree plantation conflicts. The value of our case studies lies mainly in making analytical instead of statistical generalisations, i.e. provide a general framework combining insights from metabolic studies and political ecology.” It also draws on international relations (IR) scholarship. In the IR literature, scholars Margaret Keck and Kathryn Sikkink exemplify case study-based work in their study of transnational advocacy networks (Keck & Sikkink 1998), using three examples of transnational movements to investigate different aspects of a broader puzzle about how actors mobilize across borders and the domestic effects of these activities. These authors describe their work as informed by both comparative and sociological traditions, in which they focus on interactions and identity negotiations and also consider regional and issue-based comparisons (Keck & Sikkink 1998:57). They build on the work of the social movement theorists of comparative politics and the constructivists of international relations, and categorize their approach as grounded theory (Keck & Sikkink 1998:4-5). This dissertation moves away from the comparative dimension of their work, as its theoretical aim is to synthesize insights from political economy, political ecology, and contentious politics, and its practical aim is to bring these analytic lenses to bear on a new and rapidly emerging commodity and technology. Further, this project diverges from Keck & Sikkink in part because of a fundamental difference in understanding movements: they are able to bring comparative lenses to bear, as they write (1998:6) “in each of our cases we refer to issues where networks exist and where networks do not exist, and we explore both successful and unsuccessful networks and campaigns.” In contrast, the perspective adopted in this study of biofuels contestation is that these are ongoing and dynamic processes of contention, not discrete events that come to successful or unsuccessful ends. This is where the sociologically-informed contentious politics lens, which identifies mechanisms and processes involved in contestation (thereby still allowing the identification of patterns, recurrent mechanisms, and explanatory factors), provides more traction than a strict  !  39!  Chapter(2(–(Biofuels(  comparative approach for understanding shifting discourses and coalitions. Yet in spite of these differences, the dissertation still adopts similar approaches to Keck & Sikkink in terms of looking at networks, alliances, and transnational economic and social linkages. Using the sets of processes identified by contentious politics scholars to guide my analysis (as further discussed in chapter 3), I investigate the Kenyan and Tanzanian cases in concert, drawing parallels between them and investigating divergence as similarities and differences emerge. (To remind readers, while this comparative language points to helpful insights into common trends and deviating patterns, these are not classic comparative cases, in light of their lack of independence and the iterative approach to developing and challenging the analytical framework). By identifying when and how the processes involved in contentious claim-making and responses to these claims arise, I aim to develop a better understanding of local resistance, power, new relations between state, society, and corporate actors, and the mechanisms of contention through which claims gain political traction. These processes—from brokerage to diffusion to category formation to radicalization (as per McAdam et al. 2001:102, 162, 252-254, and as discussed in terms of theory in chapter 3 and throughout empirical chapters 5-7)—affect and are the result of the interactions between international market forces, local institutions, identity claims, past state-society relations, and international commitments. By tracing out where these mechanisms occur in each of the cases—and in the international forum that connects them—this analysis illuminates the economic dimensions of a series of related social processes linked with resource control. The cases are not, in fact, independent, but both are a part of the same global debates, with many overlapping international actors. The aim of the project is not to predict specific outcomes, positions, or policies. Rather, it strives to explain how the seemingly stochastic changes across international, national and sub-national contexts are patterned and understandable, and to explain the dynamism within the debates, rather than the outcomes (particularly as the outcomes themselves seem to continually shift). The focus on process in this project follows George & Bennett’s (2005) advice that process tracing can be an effective strategy for case study research. The focus on process provides the  !  40!  Chapter(2(–(Biofuels(  opportunity to assess complex causal relationships,15 and is appropriate since the phenomenon of interest (political economy contestation) is suspected to have multiple causal pathways (as with Tilly’s 2004 description of the paths to democracy, or, in Ragin’s 1987 terms, “multiple conjunctural causality”). Further, the aim of this project is not to explain a specific outcome: this project will not explain why one country implements a supportive biofuels policy while another stymies their development, or why one community’s resistance reverses a biofuels project while another’s act of protest fails to prevent a project from moving forward. These are indeed phenomena of interest; however, as the cases of Kenya and Tanzania reveal, the outcomes even within specific countries and communities are difficult to name. For biofuels over the last decade, the outcomes are in constant flux: policies are put in place and then reversed; investments are promised then withdrawn; communities are split and fluctuate their positions around each new iteration of a project. Thus, before causal factors for these specific outcomes can be identified and compared, it is first necessary to identify the forces that lead to such rapid and constant change. This project, then, aims to provide those precursor insights into these forces, which will then facilitate later comparative work on more precise causal mechanisms. Finding an analytic lens that allows us to make sense of the dynamism of positions around biofuels will help later researchers to hone in on specific aspects of interest. Identifying where certain mechanisms observed in other cases of contention arise in the debates over biofuels allows for analysts to link large processes of political and social change to market forces. This work follows in the footsteps of McAdam et al.’s (2001) project in Dynamics of Contention, who specify that “despite its innumerable examples and its sustained presentation of cases, it works with its evidence primarily to advance and illustrate new ways of thinking about contentious politics… Never, never do we claim to have provided comprehensive explanations of the contentious events the book examines” (McAdam et al. 2001:34, emphasis added—although in that book, McAdam et !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 15 It should be noted, though, that the project does not follow their model of “structured, focused comparison,” as it uses the cases as ways of highlighting and examining specific aspects of the political dynamics in question (similar to Wapner 1996 and Keck & Sikkink 1998), rather than in carefully controlled comparisons. The project follows on Tilly’s (2004) approach, in which case studies allow for the comparison of state experiences, from which he can draw lessons and look for regularities, and on McAdam et al.’s (2001:14) use of “partial parallels” between case studies to identify the mechanisms and varying patterns in mechanisms that drive contention, and follows along the latter study’s focus on exploratory work into contention.  !  41!  Chapter(2(–(Biofuels(  al. do expend considerable effort identifying causal mechanisms, which this dissertation uses in its analysis of biofuels contestation). Here, the aim is to explicitly link international political economy and political ecology work to the dynamics of contention. This bridging explores how both fields can push contentious politics work towards greater insights into changing financing, investments, and the structure of international markets and private authority. As outlined above, I use several qualitative research tools, including elite and community interviews, surveys and questionnaires, document analysis, examination of historical events, secondary literature, and participant-observation. My analyses of actions and discourse draw on methods used by others scholars to make sense of rhetorical claims, public and private statements, and material practices, such as Keck & Sikkink (1998:7), who list elements of their analysis including: identifying relationships among actors, identifying resources that enable claim-making to occur, and identifying relevant institutional structures that facilitate or hinder activism across borders. In the field, the questions I asked and the details I considered as an observer shifted throughout the project, as my questions were not based on standardized, pre-determined questionnaires, but rather were constantly re-evaluated and adjusted as I learned more about the cases. During the research process, I identified key actors to interview from across sectors by working with researchers who had previous experience working in and with the communities and issues of interest. These researchers, particularly research partners from IRD, NMK, and the University of Dar es Salaam, were able to offer a preliminary explanation of some of the community and local dynamics, along with the national political situation. Further, they identified some of the links and power relations that were relevant to the issues, which helped shape my research and interview questions, and, equally, warned me where care was needed with sensitive topics. Along with these initial identifications, I also used a “snowball” method of identifying further interviewees (see Salganik & Heckathorn 2004:196-197),16 by asking those I spoke with if they !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 16  Salganik & Heckathorn (2004:196-197) describe “chain-referral” methods of participant sampling, in which new participants are identified and recruited through the networks of existing participants. They highlight a variation of a more classic snowball method which they call “respondent-driven” sampling, suited to identifying hidden populations.  !  42!  Chapter(2(–(Biofuels(  could suggest individuals or organizations I should consider contacting. This was particularly effective in uncovering the lack of coherence in research on these issues, as it revealed a diverse range of domestic and international researchers investigating these questions. In Tanzania especially, this method underscored the difficulties in accessing and sharing information even within institutions (information access and transmission is taken up in chapter 5 as a challenge to claim-makers and power-holders alike in negotiations over rural development projects). For international-level dynamics, my research was shaped by my access to specific international forums, with participation as an observer at intergovernmental and private sector conferences and negotiations at once directing and circumscribing the information I gathered. For both incountry case study and international level research, my observation and interview findings were supplemented with secondary and grey literature. As biofuels, food security, and land rights issues are currently topics garnering strong interest, there was an abundance of research reports, analyses, and opinion pieces to draw from. To analyze the observations, meeting notes, interview comments, and secondary literature gathered over the course of this research, I adopted an event-based approach to dividing contestation over biofuels over more than a decade into discrete units for analysis. I delineated debates over biofuels into three periods and the major frames for contestation into three main sets of grievances—these “episodes” and “streams” are discussed in detail in chapter 4. These time periods and categories were identified and labeled by drawing on other academics’ assessments of biofuels discourse and change, a survey of science and social science literature, and an assessment of documents and opinion pieces from non-governmental and intergovernmental organizations. The categorization of periods and analysis of gathered primary data were carried out concurrently, as an iterative process. This project does not conform to the methodology that would be needed for theory testing—the cases themselves, in this dissertation, inform the analytical framework and are not independent from each other, and so are not independent instances through which a theory and its observable implications can be supported or falsified. Instead, the cases illustrate the incomplete explanations that derive from using a single analytic framework (as chapter 3 explains, through a  !  43!  Chapter(2(–(Biofuels(  discussion of contentious politics, international political economy, and political ecology), and show the value of using a contentious political economy composite to unpack the complex dynamics around biofuels. In the analysis, I divided interviews and meeting notes into categories by sector, looking at responses and interventions from actors within different large groups: NGOs, communities of various types, researchers, companies, government officials, and so forth. With this division, I looked for repeating themes and comments that stood out in each temporal episode. I also looked at comments from actors across categories within each of the case studies, to piece together a narrative of the events that took place within each region, and supplemented primary accounts with secondary literature. These comments, interview notes, and observations were not analyzed through coding for specific words or topics, in large part because the questions asked of research participants were not pre-determined, but rather remained in flux and were informed by my ongoing analysis in the field. Instead, they were assessed by examining different themes based on the temporal and thematic analytic divisions used in the project. My analyses are, admittedly, limited in their scope. While I was able to meet and interview officials across several departments, my access to high-level policy makers was still minimal, and the number of policy-makers involved in decisions about agriculture and energy policies is much broader in practice than is reflected in my interview sample. The constraints of this were mediated, in part, by public access to policy documents, government statements, and media and NGO reports, but these do not reveal the private dimensions of many political decision-making processes. Similarly, my access to private corporations was limited, and to investors was nearly absent. Further, in decisions about investments linked with governments, many of the negotiations and interventions are intentionally kept out of the public sphere. Some personal comments from researchers, private sector individuals, and NGOs gave reason to believe that biofuels politics have dimensions linked to larger national political relationships, but these would require more sustained research into the political dynamics of the countries. Along with access constraints, I faced language barriers: while many research and interview partners were fluent in English, in some cases they were working in the second, third, or fourth  !  44!  Chapter(2(–(Biofuels(  language by speaking in English, and in some cases, especially in rural areas, I was working with translators. My depth of understanding of the nuances of policies, practices, and, especially, the legacies of political histories therefore remains limited. Nonetheless, by triangulating data from multiple sources and conversations across sectors, I am confident that the analyses in this dissertation contribute to a better understanding of the complex set of politics surrounding natural resource commodities and the intersecting political economy of agriculture and energy. Beyond the confines of the fieldwork, the analyses are constrained and informed by a specific set of lenses and perspectives. Another researcher might find a number of additional lenses, actors, political and social histories, and economic pressures that are relevant to questions on biofuels projects. My hope with this project is that developing and applying the contentious political economy framework to the case of biofuels renders visible some of the otherwise-cryptic links across borders, time periods, and social movements, and makes it clear to other researchers which actors, groups, and interests might also be at play. Further, whatever limitations exist within my analyses of these cases in Kenya and Tanzania, I hope that this framework sheds light on the dynamics involved in emerging markets and resource control conflicts. The Kenyan and Tanzanian cases will be more extensively detailed and explored in the chapters to come, as they reveal the value of the contentious political economy framework for understanding the shifting alliances, discourses, and relations between local and global political and economic forces. To set the stage for these in-depth studies, the next chapter turns to the development and elaboration of the theoretical framework used in this project. Beyond outlining the components of a contentious political economy framework, it points to the specific ways in which this framework bridges existing analytical lenses, and builds on the strengths of several fields of scholarship to shed new light on emerging commodities, technologies, and the conflicts they engender.  !  45!  Chapter(3(–(Contentious(political(economy(  CHAPTER 3 – CONTENTIOUS POLITICAL ECONOMY ! While research in biofuels had a long history in some countries and some domestic uptake, particularly in Brazil, in the late 1990s, these fuels had not yet become serious competitors with fossil fuels on the global stage. In the early 2000s, however, the surge of interest in market-based environmental solutions, combined with the promise of agricultural investments to alleviate rural poverty and the potential for diversified energy production to lessen the dependence of many energy-importing countries on unstable oil rich areas, biofuels gained pointed attention. Once in the spotlight, positions changed rapidly over the decade that followed. Initially occupying a marginal position in the fuels industry, but soon garnering high enthusiasm from a number of sectors—environmental groups included—biofuels quickly became a polarized issue. As questions arose about their environmental footprints (carbon and water, in particular), and others emerged over use of arable land for their production, biofuels lost many of their champions. The quickly shifting positions on biofuels over the course of a decade or so might be attributed to the nature of the problem: a promising new technology drew interest; as these were tested and studied, their positive and negative impacts became more understood; and, consequently, different groups could take informed positions for or against their production. However, emerging science and technical information cannot explain all of the dramatic shifts in support and resistance to these fuels, or to the accompanying policies around renewable energy. On the environmental front, positions changed and entrenched positions were adopted, even while the science remained uncertain and in progress. Positions were adopted around biofuels as a general category, even as the scientific evidence pointed to large differences across fuels and production methods. Policies were created, and abandoned, without clear scientific knowledge in hand. Further, one of the major debates in the mid-2000s—the “food versus fuel” claim—involved tremendous social as well as scientific uncertainty. Many corporations, governments, non-governmental organizations, and communities adopted strong and sometimes-antagonistic positions about biofuels, even while many of the trials and tests were ongoing, and before many projects had been implemented in full.  !  46!  Chapter(3(–(Contentious(political(economy(  Consequently, a scientific explanation alone fails to account for the rapid shifts in positions, and the ways in which biofuels debates have been conducted. Falkner & Jaspers (2012) have analyzed the challenges surrounding the regulation of emerging technologies, especially nanotechnology, arguing that these “create a peculiar, often complex, and fundamentally political, problem for global governance” (Falkner & Jaspers 2012:30). They claim it is not a matter of the technologies being high-risk—as many risk assessment and management systems could be put to use to prepare for and mitigate high-risk technologies—but rather a challenge posed by the “persistent uncertainty” of existence, type, and extent of the risks (Falkner & Jaspers 2012:30). Biofuels fit into this category of technologies and commodities, particularly since their risks spread across multiple sectors, from the environment (carbon emissions and biodiversity loss) to the economy (commodity prices and their ripple effects) to social systems (livelihoods and community control of resources). Contention around these alternative fuels is highly politicized—as with nanotechnology—and seemingly unpredictable, given the intersecting and conflicting potential costs and benefits. Beyond the uncertainties, too, biofuels are implicated in already-existing highly-politicized contestation over territory and production. Contention becomes more understandable and patterned, then, when economic aspects are factored in, and as social contestation over land, resources, and systems of production are included in the explanations. Contentious politics, as a framework for analyzing various forms of political and social contestation, provides tools for examining such dynamic debates over governance and control of resources and populations. Yet, as this chapter explains, current models of contentious politics still need more explicit inclusion of political economy to address the dynamics involved in resource commodity exchanges and the emergence of market forces and corporate players as new governing powers. International political economy (IPE), especially international political economy of the environment (IPEE), often focuses its analytic gaze on issues of contention related to the twoway interaction between the economy and the environment. It thus provides a powerful lens for looking at the emergence of new commodities, new markets, and new structures of authority related to natural resources and ecological systems.  !  47!  Chapter(3(–(Contentious(political(economy(  The interdisciplinary character and attention to the cross-border, transnational, and, at least in the British tradition, normative connections between economics and politics (as discussed by Cohen 2008:1-5) of IPE can be added to the insights of contentious politics. Contributing to understanding the relational and dynamic nature of claim-making and response, IPE helps provide a multifaceted and deeper understanding of the social and political causes—and consequences—of resource production and consumption. Political ecology, too, adds another layer to the explanations offered through contentious politics and political economy approaches, especially as it has made headway into the challenging project of multi-level politics, through analyzing local politics and social dynamics in the context of global political and economic forces. Building on these three lenses on conflict, control, and resources, this dissertation’s aims are twofold: first, it strives to elaborate the proposed contentious political economy framework, outlining how such a model brings together the insights of these parallel strategies for understanding political contestation and power struggles. Second, it aims to expose, using two illustrative case studies, how a joint analytic lens provides insights into the dynamic contestation over resource commodities that a single analytical lens (contentious politics, political economy, or political ecology alone) would not uncover. This chapter develops a framework for identifying how international economic forces influence power distribution and the actions and responses of states, corporations, and communities. This work provides insight into the driving question of why these actors change their positions on, and alliances around, environmental commodities and technologies so dramatically and rapidly. I argue that economic pressures are both exogenous and endogenous forces in the determination of contestation over resources. The framework extends contentious politics to contentious political economy, with the aim of unpacking the complexities of the contentious interactions among corporations, communities, governments, and other non-governmental actors over emerging commodity markets for natural resources. The chapter as a whole outlines and explores an analytic framework that can be applied to multiple sets of resource debates, and creates the  !  48!  Chapter(3(–(Contentious(political(economy(  scaffolding for the analysis of biofuels negotiations that will be taken up throughout this dissertation. The chapter proceeds in three parts: first, it outlines work on contentious politics, IPE (and IPEE), and political ecology, and discusses the value of each lens independently for understanding various aspects of resource politics. While noting the contributions each lens can offer for understanding biofuels contention, it highlights areas where researchers in each field have pointed to lacunae in their analyses. While scholars working within each of these literatures tend to engage in self-reflection about their approaches, there remain bridges to build across them, to connect the silos that develop within the social sciences. I identify how bringing these sets of literature into direct conversation can fill these gaps. Second, it presents the dynamic model of contentious politics as this bridge. It explains the framework as a way to capture varying and shifting actors and groups involved in contestation, particularly when non-state actors become the target of claims and when lines blur between state and non-state actors. Here, I highlight the particular value of the composite contentious political economy framework, compared with a single lens. It brings into consideration the cyclic nature of contestation, by examining the interactions between distant and transnational economic forces, social identities and group ties, and the ecologies of specific commodities and places. Third, the chapter analyzes actors and their identities in contentious political economy. The section considers the ways in which power relations between, and identities of, power-holders and claim-makers shift and overlap, and how these both constitute and are constituted through processes of contestation. It also enters into a discussion of governance and investment, to understand the ways in which these questions of contestation apply to both the traditional governance mechanisms under the control of centralized, institutionalized state actors and to new and emerging forms of private governance. !  !  49!  Chapter(3(–(Contentious(political(economy(  3.1 ANALYTICAL LENSES Contentious politics Contentious politics, in one commonly cited definition, is: “episodic, collective interaction among makers of claims and their objects when a) at least one government is a claimant, an object of claims, or a party to the claims; and b) the claims would, if realized, affect the interests of at least one of the claimants” (cited in Imig & Tarrow 2001:4). Contentious politics, then, is described by Imig & Tarrow (2001:4) as an “interactionist” perspective, and by McAdam et al. (2001:22-24) as a “relational” approach, where relations among actors are of utmost importance and outcomes are the product of conflict, cooperation, and negotiation. In this approach, interactions provide generative space for change, as “social interactions, social ties, communication, and conversation [are treated] not merely as expressions of structure, rationality, consciousness, or culture but as active sites of creation and change” (McAdam et al. 2001:22). Others have taken up the focus on collective action and struggles over rule-making power, even where the definitions have been contested. Leitner et al. (2008:157), for instance, define contentious politics as “concerted, counterhegemonic social and political action, in which differently positioned participants come together to challenge dominant systems of authority, in order to promote and enact alternative imaginaries.” Such a definition is helpful for understanding alliances among otherwise-unaligned actors (“differently positioned participants” who may not see themselves as part of a coherent group, but find common ground in contestation). It also aids in considering the potential for a differently-organized governance systems and representation (“alternative imaginaries” of what other constellations of power might look like). Yet it raises challenging questions within contentious politics about the distribution of power across claim-makers and targets of claims. While many civil rights movements characterize challengers as marginalized actors engaging in counter-hegemonic action, this understanding of the identities of challengers and respondents does not capture the full range of dynamics involved in contentious politics. It especially falls short in cases where the lines among and within state and non-state actors become blurred.  !  50!  Chapter(3(–(Contentious(political(economy(  Challengers may be current power-holders who fear disruption of their control and authority; respondents may have newly-gained power, or may have power in one sphere of governance but not another. Further, actors may strategically shift alliances as discourses and framings of issues change. Rather than pre-judging claim-makers and targets of claims by their position as dominant or marginalized (hegemonic or counter-hegemonic), this paper looks at contestation across groups, and considers the ways in which power is held and challenged over time. This potential for protest and contention to create “alternate imaginaries” is pointed to in a manifesto penned by a social activist and organizer, quoted by Della Porta (2008:39), on social forums, where one passage says: “The Utopian dimension of the forum is in the active and pragmatic testimony that another globalisation is possible.” Moreover, the focus on contentious politics as shaping potential futures—rather than only as determining the outcome of specific projects or activities—emphasizes the iterative nature of these political interactions. In these cycles, single issues may be re-introduced and responded to multiple times, with the significant outcome of protest and contention being the development of identities and social expectations of all actors involved in both movements and countermovements. The successes and failures of contention are not always measured, for instance, by whether a dam is built or a seal hunt stopped, but by who has or gains voice in deciding on these projects and practices. More simply, contentious politics is defined as “collective political struggle” (McAdam et al. 2001), and involves not only ongoing interpersonal interactions (the development of relationships among and between actors), but more specifically episodic and public action. The contention is a dynamic and relative process that can be contained, meaning within the bounds of accepted collective action by recognized actors, or transgressive, where at least some parties employ innovative forms of collective action or are newly self-identified political actors (McAdam et al. 2001:12). Politics, writ large, is the study of the allocation of resources and distribution of power; to those questioning the need for, and possibility of, the specification of a field of contentious politics— wondering whether all politics is not contentious—McAdam et al. (2001:5) respond:  !  51!  Chapter(3(–(Contentious(political(economy(  Is all of politics contentious? According to a strict reading of our definition, certainly not. Much of politics – the majority, we would guess – consists of ceremony, consultation, bureaucratic process, collection of information, registration of events, and the like. Reporting for military service, registering to vote, paying taxes, attending associational meetings, implementing policies, enforcing laws, performing administrative work, reading newspapers, asking officials for favors, and similar actions constitute the bulk of political life; they usually involve little if any collective contention. Much of politics takes place in the internal social relations of a party, bureau, faction, union, community, or interest group and involves no collective public struggle whatsoever. The contentious politics that concerns us is episodic rather than continuous, occurs in public, involves interaction between makers of claims and others, is recognized by those others as bearing on their interests, and brings in government as mediator, target, or claimant.  This differentiates the study of contentious politics as a specific lens on political interaction from the wider set of circumstances of the exercise and assertion of power. Like McAdam et al., this dissertation takes as its project a set of questions linked to public claim-making, and, especially, claim-making that incorporates new political actors, targets of claims, and forms of claimmaking. James Scott in his book Weapons of the Weak documents the “everyday forms of resistance,” (Scott 1985:xvi-xvii, 28-29) the mechanisms and strategies through which people without political power (marginal, repressed peasants, in his study) assert their independence and act against the agents and structures of power in subversive, private ways. His aim was to challenge the assumption that marginalized actors were only either revolutionary or submissive. To forward this challenge, he investigated cases where these actors were not motivated or able to exert public, collective claims to change their political circumstances, yet did not passively accept the terms of the power-holders. Kerkvliet (2009:232) describes “everyday politics” in similar terms, as people’s engagement with the norms, rules, and authorities are communicated and conducted “in quiet, mundane, and subtle expressions and acts that are rarely organized or direct.” This project is closer to Kerkvliet’s (2009:232) description of “advocacy politics,” which consist of “direct and concerted efforts to support, criticize, oppose authorities, their policies and programs, or the entire way in which resources are produced and distributed within an  !  52!  Chapter(3(–(Contentious(political(economy(  organization or a system of organization.” Such actions, in his construction of politics, are deliberate, straightforward, and directed outward. Unlike the focus in Scott’s (1985) and Kerkvliet’s (2009) work, this dissertation explores the very public debates and claims made around biofuels (rather than more subversive, below-theradar forms of resistance). It takes as its starting point the idea of contention as public, collective, iterative, and dynamic claim-making and response. Yet it includes elements of everyday politics, including quieter forms of resistance, which lay the foundation for the grievances, identities, symbols, discourses, and cycles of politics that feed into more concerted episodes of claimmaking. The study of contentious politics emerged from the recognition that work on social movements, strikes and labour movements, and revolutions were being studied in isolation, but exhibited similar patterns and characteristics of political interaction. Scholars in this tradition saw these myriad forms of action could be usefully understood as varying ways in which power-seekers and holders of power make and respond to claims. Claim-making by actors outside the centres of power unfolds in similar ways across these different types of political activities, where there are identifiable repertoires of action, discourses and images, and where performances and claims build on past episodes of action and resistance. In McAdam et al.’s (2001:4) explanation, contentious politics “shows how different forms of contention – social movements, revolutions, strike waves, nationalism, democratization, and more – result from similar mechanisms and processes.” While the language of “movements” and “counter-movements” is used in contentious politics work to describe the actions and identities of claim-makers and targets of claims, the framework of contentious politics in fact extends beyond ‘social movements’ alone (Tarrow 2008:236).17 There is space within such a framework for conceptualizing the shifting groups and varying positions within groups around contested issues that occupy multiple political spaces and levels !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 17  Tarrow (2008:236) explains: “Tilly insisted that social movements are a particular, historically discrete form of organizing contention and not the be-all and end-all of contentious politics (2004b). He wanted to broaden the range of inquiry to all kinds of contentious events, in order to study both movements and other forms of contention (e.g. rebellions, strike waves, revolutions, nationalist episodes, democratization, terrorism)…”  !  53!  Chapter(3(–(Contentious(political(economy(  of demands for changes in conditions and governance. Not only do the performances of countermovements respond to the actions of claim-makers, but their positions might equally shift, leading to cases where some of the targets of claims may ally with claim-makers. Drawing on the mechanisms and process identified in the range of contentious events and actions outlined above provides insight into the ways in which various actors voice contestation, articulate resistance, alter their positions, and demand change. McAdam et al. (2001) understand contentious political dialogue as cyclical and relational, involving interactions between movements and counter-movements through repertoires, performances, and alliances. For example, scholars of contentious politics have examined how alliances and movements coalesce around issues and identities (Tilly 2002), how performances and repertoires of action advance claims (Tilly 2008), and how contention operates across levels, from local to transnational (Tadem 2009, Della Porta & Tarrow 2004, Montagna 2010). Others have studied how events can trigger social and political change, for instance through structural transformations resulting from specific events (Della Porta 2008,18 Sewell 2005, Soule 1999, Olzak 1989, and as referenced in Tarrow 2008:233-234). Work by Tarrow (1989, 1994, 1995, 1998) and others focused on the cyclical nature of social movements, where protests and movements provide political opportunities for future claim-making.19 Tarrow (1994:153) defines a cycle of protest as involving: a phase of heightened conflict and contention across the social system that includes: a rapid diffusion of collective action from more mobilized to less mobilized sectors; a quickened pace of innovation in the forms of contention; new or transformed collective action frames; a combination of organized and unorganized participation; and sequences of intensified interactions between challengers and authorities which can end in reform, repression and sometimes revolution.  !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 18 Della Porta (2008:48) explains that “eventful protests” are those that have a strong “cognitive, relational and emotional impact on participants and beyond participants.” These dimensions of psychosocial and interactive impacts are critical for understanding the contributions of contentious politics, as it integrates relational considerations along with the structural ones that tended to be the focus of more traditional social movement theory. 19 In work on the role of repertoires of collective action in cyclical contention, Tarrow (1995:91), as noted by Hochstedtler (1997:4) explains that repertoires are often repeated, since they are “not only what people do when they make a claim; it is what they know how to do and what society has come to expect them to choose to do.”  !  54!  Chapter(3(–(Contentious(political(economy(  While later work by Tarrow and others (especially McAdam et al. 2001) expanded this definition to include more contingent and relational elements than were contained in this more structural approach, the earlier work on social movements and contention offered helpful insights into the idea of claim-making and response as cyclical processes that repeat and adapt to new actors, claims, and events. Further, linking the patterns involved in cyclical contention to the tools of claim-making, Tilly (2002:6) describes contentious repertoires and identities as “interactive, negotiated, contingent, [and] culturally shaped.” Much of the work using these tools looks at the relationships between states and societies, with a focus on government actors as holders of power and against whom claims are made. Given the central role of governments as rule-makers and power holders, many studies position state actors as the primary holders of power, at times contested or supported by non-state actors. Even for protests against corporate actions, this state-focus was appropriate for much of the work on revolutions and protest. As Soule (2009:7) explains, “in the past, activists attempted to indirectly influence corporations through targeting the government and/or regulatory agencies.” It should be noted, of course, that states have not been given unexamined priority in these studies, as leading scholars of contentious politics, notably Charles Tilly, were well aware of the contingency of states’ centrality, with Tilly (1990:4) noting “states as we know them will not last forever, and may soon lose their incredible hegemony.” However, the model of contentious politics explicitly allows for an analysis of relationships among non-state actors, where governments are present as mediators, observers, or even as resistors. This opens the door to an analysis of societal relations with corporate holders of power, a growing area of contestation in the context of economic integration, transnational corporation proliferation, and global financial markets. As Soule (2009:7-8) further states, “since the 1960s, it would appear that activists often target corporations directly” for reasons including the increased power of “transnational entities” and changes in technology available for movement organization. There remain bridges to build between the literatures of contentious politics and political economy. Tarrow (2011:41) identifies areas of further work needed in the field of contentious  !  55!  Chapter(3(–(Contentious(political(economy(  politics, highlighting: “[f]irst, the study of movements that do not target the state. In recent years there have been a number of “stockholder revolts” in both the United States and Europe. These do not look much like traditional social movements, but they certainly qualify as contentious politics…the next generation of scholars of contention will have to take these protests more seriously.” Moreover, in light of growing attention to political ecology, the intersection of ecology, economics, and contentious politics needs to be more deeply explored, particularly in discussions of resource governance and global development. The field of contentious politics scholarship has proven self-reflective and boundary-pushing over the years, with leading thinkers paying deliberate attention to the gaps in how they carry out analyses and in which questions they ask. Explicitly demonstrating this openness and critical reflection, Aminzade et al. (2001) compiled a book on “silence and voice” in contentious politics work. This project looked at areas that had, to that point, been largely unexamined, spanning issues from leadership to emotions to religion. In that spirit, this chapter builds on the existing work and pushes further into an area of emerging importance that has not been fully explored, namely global market forces and international economic players. The arena of economics and global political economy is a remaining area of relative silence in the literature of contentious politics, and one where the tools of contentious politics are readily available for its inclusion and where such an analytic approach can deepen our understanding of movements and countermovements around contested resource governance. As corporate actors play increasingly central roles in public governance, rule-setting, and shaping the political and economic contexts that structure peoples’ lives and livelihoods, the lines between public and private become further blurred. States have, of course, long been recognized as having economic interests and incentives—some sets of state-building literature have focused on the economic underpinnings of the very formation of state power and control (such as Levi 1989), and analyses of colonialism recognize the long-standing relations between resource extraction and territorial expansion, including through support by states for corporate activities. Models for understanding governance have often placed the state as the regulator and mediator of economic activities, exerting varying levels of control over private economic  !  56!  Chapter(3(–(Contentious(political(economy(  activities, and corporations as operating within these parameters of control (on environmental regulation, see for instance Clapp 1998:295 and Falkner 2003:76). Political economy has not been ignored in studies of agrifood systems and other commodity complexes and intersections between sociology and political economy are have been examined in the literature—on the latter, see, for example, Ward & Almås (1997). Financial and economic interests have not been absent from the studies of revolution, strikes, and social movements that have been the focus of contentious politics work: labour union activities, demands by workers on employers and the state, and uprisings around agriculture and food prices have all been studied by many scholars in this field. For instance, Tilly (2008) examines contentious performances and the development of repertoires of contention through examples including action in the 1830s in England against the Corn Laws and “Bread Tax,” which had raised prices on grain and bread for buyers. The case studies explored in McAdam et al. (2001) range from the French revolution to Italian student protests to the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya to the Yellow Revolution in the Philippines, and all have economic dimensions to the grievances, pressures, and incentives that led to mobilization and claim-making (and to their responses by power-holders).20 Further, a great deal of work has been done on transnational dimensions of contentious politics, looking at transnational social movements and local-transnational links, and many of these focus on economic issues such as debt relief, international trade rules, and fair trade (e.g., Tadem 2009; Della Porta & Tarrow 2004). Tarrow (2011:26), for instance, has recently examined contentious events resulting from the global financial crisis. Their focus, though, has not generally extended into new ways of conceptualizing corporate actors as rule-makers in the international arena, !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 20  McAdam et al. (2001:76) investigate 15 case studies in their book: the French Revolution (1789), American civil rights (1950s), Italian student protests (1960s-1970s), the Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya (1950-1960), the Philippine Yellow revolution (1983-1986), Hindu-Muslim conflict in South Asia (1960s-1990s), democratization in South Africa (1980-1995), Franco’s regime collapse in Spain (1970s), and anti-slavery movement in the US (1860), Nicaragua’s Sandinista revolution (1979), Tiananmen Square crisis in China (1989), Italian unification (1848-1900), Soviet bloc breakdown (post-1985), Swiss political conflict (1830-1848), and Mexican democratization (post-1968). These episodes span four major categories of contention, according to the authors: social movements, revolution, democratization, and nationalism. In many of these cases, economic factors were a central part of their analysis. For instance, in these case studies, McAdam et al. (2001:52, 63, 94, 111) point to a fiscal crisis that played a role in catalyzing the French revolution, an influx of wealth that provoked a shift away from elitist access and toward more widespread enrollment in universities and thus provided an opening for political demands by students in 1960s Italy, economic prosperity in post-World War II Kenya that fueled in-migration by white settlers leading to intensified competition for land, and a global recession in the early 1980s that mobilized the business community against the Marcos regime in the Philippines.  !  57!  Chapter(3(–(Contentious(political(economy(  dispersed and distant points in commodity chains as both exogenous and endogenous pressures on local political systems, and the ways in which new markets and commodities shape discourses and claim-making efforts. Work on commodities, financial markets, and economic dimensions of contention has been initiated, but has not yet been pushed to its full potential. In light of increasing financialization, growing interconnections among markets, changing state-society relations, and rapid environmental change, these questions and ideas bear continued examination and development, and further specification and application across contentious issues. Economic lenses can be integrated more deeply into a contentious politics approach. The framework of contentious political economy differs from just including economic considerations in a contentious politics model, as it builds on the interactive and relational dimensions of contentious politics to consider how actors are both shaped by and shape their structural conditions. ! International political economy of the environment In surveying current international political economy of the environment (IPEE) work, and discussing gaps in the field, Clapp & Helleiner (2012a:485) point to a “surge” of research, prompted by international attention to sustainable development in the 1980s and 1990s, on the two-way interactions between the economy and the environment, including: how economics are addressed in international environmental governance, how the environment is addressed by international economic institutions and regimes, and how private international regimes govern the intersection of environment and economy. They highlight that much recent IPEE work has focused on international regimes around environmental issues, and call for the field to extend its reach and value beyond such institutionalized forms of governance (Clapp & Helleiner 2012a:485, 488-489). Explaining that the tradition of international political economy has followed no such regime-based limits in its non-environmental work, they suggest the tools of IPE—particularly its attention to the structures, processes, and power relationships of the global economy (Clapp & Helleiner (2012a:490)—can be used to analyze environmental and resourcelinked issues. The article points to the need for IPEE scholars to pay sustained attention to larger structural trends (Clapp & Helleiner 2012a:485).  !  58!  Chapter(3(–(Contentious(political(economy(  Political economy can uncover the incentives that are used by actors and groups to develop alliances, ignite protest, and spark revolution. It includes a focus on dispersed actors, multiple layers of incentives, and long chains of interaction across the globe, which are useful considerations for the types of interactions and activities that impinge on and are affected by the environment. Further, and particularly salient for biofuels politics, Clapp & Helleiner (2012a:497) point to the focus in IPE on “high and volatile” commodity prices and on the implications of these price fluctuations for the dynamics of both economic systems and power. In work on agricultural futures and commodity trading, Clapp & Helleiner (2012b:182) note that “[b]ecause the volatility in agricultural prices and futures prices has very clear and direct distributional consequences for a concentrated group of domestic societal actors in the agricultural sector, it has, in turn, generated a long history of political activism vis-à-vis the regulation of agricultural derivatives markets.” These relationships of power linked to economic variability, and their consequences as motivators of activism and mobilizers of resistance, are central to questions around shifting alliances and discourses over renewable fuels and emerging agricultural markets. Some IPE work already integrates the role of ideas and discourse, such as Bieler & Morton (2008:103), who examine the links between material and ideational components of the world, arguing that “ideas can be conceived as material social processes through which signs become part of the socially created world.” And some addresses the need to disaggregate key actors, noting that different financial actors operate with concern for different timescales (Clapp & Helleiner 2012a:492-493). The IPEE literature also explores unusual alliances—for instance Clapp & Helleiner (2012a:492493) write of studies showing pension and mutual funds allying with environmental groups—but in terms of the symbolic nature and identity-based nature of alliances and shifting discourses, the sociological literature has more to say. Thus, the dimensions of alliance-formation and dissolution linked with economic interests, as understood through a political economy lens, intersects with more identity-based understandings of partnerships, coalitions, and liaisons understood through sociological lenses that connect category development, strategic use of  !  59!  Chapter(3(–(Contentious(political(economy(  symbol and signs, and other culturally-linked cues to integrate individual and group identities with political claims and positions. For some scholars, political economy refers to “the processes by which ideas, power and resources are conceptualized, negotiated and implemented by different groups at different scales” (Tanner & Allouche 2011:2), or, alternately, “how to think about the connections between economics and politics beyond the confines of a single state” (Cohen 2008:1). The differences between this field and contentious politics is blurry with such broad definitions, but more specifically, the IPE literature adds to contentious politics particular attention to finance, markets, commodity chains, private sector actors, and the ways in which economics shape political incentives, behaviour, and relationships. Lake (2006:758) outlines two sets of questions as the core of IPE: “how, when, and why do states choose to open themselves to transborder flows of goods and services, capital, and people?” and “how does integration (or not) into the international economy affect the interests of individuals, sectors, factors of production, or countries and, in turn, national policies?” He points to questions around growth and conflict in international markets as drivers of the resurgence of the study of international political economy (Lake 2006:760). As Lake (2006) describes, the units of analysis in IPE are firms, sectors, and factors of production (capital and labour)—units that contribute a specific angle to investigations of the relationships between political power and economics. These units are generally not the primary focus of contentious politics, which tends to turn its gaze more towards identity formation and appropriation in claim-making processes, and the processes through which actors are drawn into contestation. Importantly, political economy literature, especially in global political economy and environmental politics work, challenges state/non-state divides in assessments of power and authority. This occurs particularly as states and other social groups enter into new alliances and relationships with corporations, and as corporations bypass national government control, both through increasing the scale of their economic influence and by operating transnationally, outside the clear bounds of national jurisdictions (see, for example, work on non-state global governance, international non-governmental organizations, and private global regulation by  !  60!  Chapter(3(–(Contentious(political(economy(  Buthe & Mattli 2011, Bernstein 2010, Graz & Nolke 2008a, Vogel 2008, Bernstein & Cashore 2007, Avant 2004, and Cashore 2002). The proliferation of transnational corporations, integration of global economies and trade rules (through institutions such as the World Trade Organization), and spread of transnational investment in increasingly abstract ways (through fast-moving stock trading and financial markets that operate in realms far removed from the physical resources they depend on) require new ways of conceptualizing the structures of power in which states and societies operate, and the ways in which they express resistance and authority (as per Soule 2009). As scholars of contentious politics point to the need to further consider political economy and business management literature, so too do IPE scholars highlight the need to read beyond international relations and into fields including geography and sociology (Clapp & Helleiner 2012a:500) to better understand changing dynamics of power, authority, and state-societycorporate relations. In writing about food prices and the ecological impacts of producing biofuels, Clapp & Helleiner (2012a:499) state “[t]here is an urgent need for IPEE scholars to draw on this important work [in sociology, geography, and international development] and to make linkages back to the broader global context and the trends outlined earlier in this article, such as the globalization of finance and the growing demand for foreign resources by emerging powers such as China.” This dissertation aims to follow these calls for studies across disciplinary boundaries, to demonstrate how bridging these fields and adopting multiple, integrated analytical lenses can provide new insights into the complex politics and economics of biofuels. IPE offers sensitivity to changing economic incentives and structural trends that open up new political opportunities and threats. This combines well with the attention in contentious politics to social movements and the mechanisms through which actors capitalize on new structures and openings for asserting claims. These two lenses, in concert, provide further insights into when and how actors and groups are able to use economic incentives and changes to mobilize—and demobilize—claimmaking and resistance.  !  61!  Chapter(3(–(Contentious(political(economy(  This work has already begun. For instance, Soule (2009, especially 7-9) examines the changes in social responses to economic structures, particularly through documenting the increase of and reasons for a rise in direct action against corporations rather than indirect claims mediated by the state. In areas of public debate and contestation, including many resource governance issues, these economic dimensions shape the structures in which actors operate. They also provide the basis for some actors’ identities, provide incentives for specific modes of governance, and respond to decisions of actors, thereby creating feedback loops and shaping the new structures in which actors find themselves. This project follows in these footsteps, and builds on previous work to add new insights into both biofuels politics and resource governance. As with much of the global environmental politics (GEP) and IPEE literature, and as followed and outlined by Dauvergne & Neville (2010:641), the political economy analysis in this dissertation is framed in what Amin and Palan (2001) describe as “non-rationalist” international political economy, which assumes that: state systems are historically situated and transitory; state-market relations are a form of power struggle; totalizing theories obscure relevant information about social and political phenomena; and institutions reproduce and reinforce truth and rationality. Using contextualised analyses of state-society and state-corporate relationships, we can both build on more general theories of contention and claim-making linked to new commodities and natural resources, as well as explain the patterns observed in the specific case of biofuels. The political dynamics within biofuel alliances illustrate the need to consider a “plurality of authority domains” (Amin & Palan 2001:568), in which states and multinational corporations are engaged in material, discursive, and symbolic struggles over power. Further, this project draws on agrarian political economy, a field and perspective charged with sociological concerns and focused on historical and shifting social relations of production. According to Akram-Lodhi (2007:1437), it “offers an understanding of the processes surrounding land transfers that emphasizes social embeddedness.” More broadly, in recent work addressing classic debates of agrarian political economy, scholars have revisited “key concepts” such as “peasant differentiation, family farming, scale in agricultural production, vertical integration, rural–urban linkages, peasant politics and class struggles, agrarian transitions to capitalism and socialist construction” (Borras 2009:16). Borras (2009:16) also points to more  !  62!  Chapter(3(–(Contentious(political(economy(  novel areas of agrarian studies research, including work on sustainable livelihoods in rural areas, “food regimes,” gender perspectives, links between academic and activist work, and everyday forms of politics. Da Corta (2008:1) similarly outlines the value of studying the political economy of agrarian change to understand rural poverty, the systemic exclusion of certain populations, and the potential for transformation in marginalized communities—all of which he suggests can be informed by understanding processes of “capitalist accumulation, class relations and unfreedom.” These perspectives and approaches do some of the work of bringing together insights from sociology and political economy. In particular, they reveal relational elements related to class and ownership of the means of production, to show how political grievances and ambitions intersect with ecological pressures and new market forces. These can be further enriched by attending to the cycles and mechanisms of claim-making from contentious politics and the activities of financial actors along with systemic trends in market forces from IPE. Political ecology Political ecology bridges fields of study of sociological and anthropological relations—and the symbolic and cultural dimensions of resources, territory, and production they bring to light— with political economy and interest-based incentives for action. Defined by Gerber et al. (2009:2885) as “the study of conflicts over access to natural resources and services and over the burdens of impacts that arise because of inequalities in power, property and income among human groups,” it focuses on questions of valuation, justice, and distributional equity. Further, as with political economy of the environment, political ecology is particularly attuned to the interplay between the environment itself and the politics that emerge over its control. For political ecologists, patterns of production, mechanisms of change, and incentives for behaviour are contingent. They are not only the product of relations between people (which vary along historical and social lines), but also are the product of these relations mediated by differing environmental conditions. This results in a plurality of values and positions, as suggested by Gerber et al. (2009). While political economy of the environment considers some of these  !  63!  Chapter(3(–(Contentious(political(economy(  contingent features of markets and products and contentious politics sees mechanisms of contention as patterned but contingent, the value of explicitly attending to political ecology—and especially as it has been taken up by agrarian political economists—is in the attention it brings to the local intersection of culture, geography, ecology, and economics. The value is magnified where marginalized actors are involved, as usually-invisible relations of power linked with place are revealed. Clapp & Helleiner (2012a:487) explain that IPEE considers how resources and environmental issues affect the economy, and, with the causal arrow reversed, how the economy affects the environment. However, the attention to the ecology of the resources under investigation provides not only this focus of IPEE on the effects of the environment on the economy and vice-versa, but more fundamentally illuminates the ways in which social systems mirror and depend upon ecological systems. The trends recommended to IPEE scholars for future attention by Clapp & Helleiner (2012a:490) are: “the globalization of financial markets; significant shifts in the economic power of leading states; and high and volatile commodity prices on world markets.” These are critical areas of inquiry in this dissertation, but still leave space for political ecology to contribute to an understanding of biofuels contestation. The insights of ecology for social science goes beyond the impact of a particular resource—sugarcane or Jatropha, for example—and extends to a way of understanding dynamic systems. As outlined by Neville (2007), and following Callicott (2005), current biological theory focuses on dynamic equilibrium: challenging the assumption of ecosystems in stable, unchanging states and recognizing that even mature, stable systems are always in flux. This proves valuable for social and political systems, as it implies a degree of pattern and order while allowing for change. As Frenay (2006) writes: In nature, it's ecological process that transforms energy, matter and information into the structures we call living things. Now we seek to mirror that process...into equally vibrant cultural structures. This means turning one of our most basic beliefs on its head. In ecology, structures -- which we're inclined to view as anchors of stability -- are actually malleable, adapting and changing over time... Viewing process as more stable than structure is  !  64!  Chapter(3(–(Contentious(political(economy(  paradoxical...We've worked hard to build a culture on the belief that stable and lasting structures are the guarantee of permanence. In reality it's the other way around.  Contentious politics, already pushing beyond more traditional social movements work (which was, as already noted, focused on political opportunity structures) to consider dynamic systems, benefits from political ecology’s attention to the distant and dynamic relations of power and economics in the context of global change. Political ecology specifies how biological and physical (or material) characteristics of goods have implications for their governance and production. For instance, the specific ecologies of crops, or the specific extraction techniques for certain resources, influence the infrastructure needed for their production, the timing of markets that can be developed for them, and the possible disruptions to their availability. Technological innovations can overcome some of the ecological barriers of given resources: freezing and preservation techniques can allow for yearround markets for seasonal foods, or for the sales of those goods in places far from where primary producers extract or harvest them. However, crops remain sensitive to ecological cues, triggers, and threats, and there are limits to the technical capacity to erase these ecological constraints. As one example of the insights offered by political ecology, Blaikie (1981) takes on an academic project—to expand the analytical ways of understanding soil erosion—with a very applicable, practical aim: to change the ways in which policy makers and development practitioners respond to soil erosion and environmental change. Examining how distant political and economic systems are connected with local environments, he argues that identifying the direct causes of soil erosion—namely farming practices and cultivation pressures—is inadequate for finding durable solutions to this environmental degradation. The scientific and technical fixes proposed by agronomists and soil scientists fail to capture the political, social, and economic causes underlying these activities. For instance, in one of Blaikie’s examples (1981:66-69), the influx of British mining interests in Zambia led to in-migration to the mines (to provide the needed labour), the eviction of existing  !  65!  Chapter(3(–(Contentious(political(economy(  Zambian cultivators away from mining areas (to make way for the labourers’ settlements), and the creation of commercial farms near the mines (controlled by white, European settlers, to provide cheap food to the miners). These concurrent changes resulted in changes to farming practices across the country. First, income-earning workers were absent from their own farms during cultivation times, and the requisite shifts in farming practices at home to compensate for these missing labourers often had negative impacts on soil fertility. Second, the resettlement of displaced Zambian farmers near the mines led to sudden high population densities, and the high pressures on these lands resulted in eroding soils. And third, the emphasis on cheap food production and commercial farming resulted in a shift to cash crops such as maize, instead of former staple crops more suited to the lands, such as millet and cassava. In Blaikie’s (1981:68) assessment, these “rapid and enforced changes in the socio-economic fabric of the area” are the underlying causes of soil degradation, and cannot be solved through technological solutions alone. This is pertinent to biofuels governance and management, where resolving questions of carbon emissions and production efficiencies fails to address the larger contextual questions of land use choices, food and energy demands, and local autonomy and participation in resource control and decision-making processes. The social histories of land control, practices of fossil fuel use and resource exploitation, and the systems of organization of production and power in the corporate and global spheres underlie discussions of feedstock production and fuel development. Blaikie’s political economy requires considering contingent and complex explanations, invisible and distant political economy, and relationships and interactions. Further, as asserted by Leitner et al. (2008:158), place- and scalebased aspects of geography (described as “spatiality,” which can include “place, scale, networks, mobility and socio-spatial positionality”), which are central to political ecology, are relevant to contentious politics. Decisions about their consideration has effects on how analysts identify and study social relations and political interactions. This treatment, then, of contentious political economy, is particularly attuned to the ecological and spatial determinants of the resource markets around which contestation swirls.  !  66!  Chapter(3(–(Contentious(political(economy(  Synthesis and contributions of bridging theoretical approaches Each of the three analytic lenses described above brings valuable insights to the understanding of contention over biofuels. Having delved into the specific contributions—and gaps—of each in the preceding sections, a brief overview of those gaps, and thus the value of bringing these lenses into conversation, should now help the reader to more explicitly see the additive value of a contentious political economy approach. First, IPE focuses on complex, geographically-distant, and abstract relationships, but rather than conceptualizing claim-making and contestation as a cyclical process, tends to consider incentives and economic pressures in more linear and often-static ways. Bringing in perspectives attuned to repeating and adaptive claims and contestation offers new insights for these commodity markets. Second, as elaborated above, contentious politics has the potential to be extended into the realm of corporate-state and corporate-society relationships, but has not yet realized this potential in full. It does not provide the tools to probe how actors who are not engaged in contention themselves (and may not even be aware of the contention, particularly when disputes occur in remote locations) can profoundly affect the dynamics of contention by shaping opportunities and threats. Further, the field of contentious politics has not pushed the boundaries of understanding how private governance and private authority collide with claim-making and grievances under changing structures of international authority and in light of the new power of global markets. Contentious politics does not explore the new ways that these private actors are re-shaping relationships of power and control—while IPE, in contrast, is highly attuned to these shifts in governance and authority. Finally, political ecology explictly links local and global dynamics, but pays less attention to the ways in which actors mobilize and organize for collective public action and coordinated claimmaking. Further, political ecology illuminates otherwise-obscure power dynamics and economic ties, but has less insight into the emergence of new markets on the international stage, the interaction between corporate developments and international policies for markets, and the causes of large shocks in the global economy.  !  67!  Chapter(3(–(Contentious(political(economy(  The strengths of each analytical framework coincide with the gaps in the others, leading these three lenses, when taken together, to complement and supplement each independent approach. Taken in concert, and with particular attention to the interactions across these various factors (as economic forces, societal mobilization, and ecological specificity influence and shape each other), these three lenses can be merged into a composite approach—as will be elaborated in the subsequent section. ! 3.2 CONTENTIOUS POLITICAL ECONOMY The complexity of resource politics Biofuels and other natural resources and resource-linked technologies are not clear problems in themselves: they are material objects and physical goods, developed for certain social and political reasons and responded to in diverse ways. In one strand of global environmental politics literature, the term “wicked problems” has been taken up to describe cases where problem definition itself proves difficult and where actors often do not immediately experience the consequences of their decisions (Rittel & Weber 1973:161-162). Warner & Wegerich (2010:1112) apply this label to water politics, noting that wicked problems cannot be classified as only either technical or political problems, but rather are cases where there are disagreements over both facts and values. Moreover, as Rittel & Weber’s describe (1973:165), wicked problems are symptoms of other problems; this suggests that analysts need iterative stages of problem identification, especially since problems arise within historical contexts. Understanding these layered dimensions of biofuels provides guidance for beginning to unpack the complex politics of these fuels. In understanding situations involving multiple intersecting problems and actors, other analysts turn to the language of “multi-functional” problems (see, for example, Tiberghien & Schreurs 2007:76, on climate change policy, and Tiberghien 2009:396 on policy-making for genetically modified organisms). Rather than seeing biofuels markets and governance as a single problem with complex dimensions, as the wicked problem label might suggest, considering biofuels as  !  68!  Chapter(3(–(Contentious(political(economy(  multi-functional problems pushes even more deeply into the heart of the challenges in addressing their development, governance, and control. From one angle, the contestation around biofuels arises in the power structures that are responsible for their emergence and that develop around them, in terms of who defines energy needs and possible energy futures, how marketing and production systems are created for agriculture and energy, who sets the rules for their trade and use, and what visions of development there are for people around the planet, and especially for people of the rural global South. From an alternate angle, the contestation emerges not just around the actors involved in their control, but around the ways in which biofuels are understood as problems in the first place: how they are categorized as energy sources, agricultural products, or technological developments; and whether they are seen as problems of environmental concern, food production, land use challengers, or market goods and tradable commodities. From both these perspectives on the nature of the analytical problem of biofuels, contentious politics gives us tools for addressing these sector-, actor-, and interest-spanning problems that build on past political and social interactions. While the social and political dynamics around struggles over power may be complex in these cases, contentious politics approaches assert that contention is not “disorderly,” but in fact a decipherable set of actions and forms of claimmaking (Tarrow 2008:230). Resource-centered debates pivot on economic language and rationales, particularly in increasingly interconnected global markets. For some, economic rewards provide the incentives for interest in the resources (forestry, oil exploration); for others, economic trade-offs dictate when actors take up these technologies (solar power as an alternative to fossil fuels); while for others still, economically-based worldviews create the very conditions for their development (the transformation of carbon into a commodity with dedicated markets). Consequently, economics and the process of financialization provide the basis for decision-making around these activities, and underpin how decision-makers understand the planet and its ecosystems (as chapter 6 discusses, linked with the food versus fuel debates). Combining the contentious politics model  !  69!  Chapter(3(–(Contentious(political(economy(  with an explicit examination of political economy thus offers a framework for analyzing actors’ responses to existing and novel political conditions around natural resource governance. ! Endogenous and exogenous economic forces Economic dimensions could be incorporated into contentious politics analyses in multiple ways, through including: specific economic actors (e.g., investors, corporations, and consumers); economic forums and structures (e.g., trade rules or policies set through the World Trade Organization or bilateral trade agreements); or economically-induced political opportunities or threats (changes in political spaces around which actors can focus action, such as changes in commodity prices, crop failures or booms, new producers and technologies, or the discovery of substitutable or complementary resources). However, an explicit contentious political economy approach pushes this inclusion even further by considering the feedback mechanisms that link exogenous and endogenous changes in economic conditions. While commodity price spikes might be seen as exogenous pressures that create political opportunities (by providing new incentives for action, new threats against existing powerholders, or new focal points around which discourses can be built and interests groups can be convened), these prices are also responsive to changes in discourse and action by actors engaged in contestation (thereby implicated as outcomes of contention), and consequently are indicators of the effectiveness of different strategies for gaining power. Similarly, global trade rules are the product of negotiations among actors vying for control, and thus are the result of contentious interactions over resource governance, but also set the structural conditions within which actors operate. As seen in Figure 3.1, contentious political economy operates as a cyclical process. Many of the actors, pressures, and forces operate at several points in the cycle; for instance, markets and economic forces are (a) exogenous forces, (f) endogenous responses, (e) identity links for actors, and also (b) drivers of interests.  !  70!  Chapter(3(–(Contentious(political(economy(  Figure 3.1: Cyclical model of contentious political economy interactions.  b) Response from threatened or empowered actors  c) Division across established positions on an issue  a) Economic shock or new market  d) Creation of new, or reinforcement of existing, discourses f) Changes in markets and regulations based on new alliances and discourses  e) Shift in existing alliances, or formation of new alliances  The diagram expands on the model developed by McAdam et al. (2001:45), and referred to by McAdam & Tarrow (2010:531), seen in Figure 3.2. In this model, the actors are members (those “constituted political actors enjoying routine access to government agents and resources”) and challengers (“constituted political actors lacking that routine access”), as per McAdam et al. (2001:12), while their interactions within and across these categories are provoked by situational and environmental changes (“broad change processes”), shaped by the mechanisms of attribution and appropriation, and lead to collective action by both the power-holders and claim-makers. The model in this dissertation (Figure 3.1) is intended neither to replace the insights offered by these contentious politics scholars nor to suggest that there are not additional feedback mechanisms, two-way interactions, and additional variables and events at work. Rather, what this model offers is concerted attention to the role of markets, new commodities, and dispersed financial actors as they intersect with existing contentious claims, social movements, and mobilized identities. Further, it offers multiple actors the chance to act in different capacities at different points in contention, thus leaving space for dynamism in alliances, movements, and positions. Combined with the processes, mechanisms, and episodes delineated in contentious politics work (including, among others, the process of actor constitution through contentious interaction, as illustrated by McAdam et al. 2001:317), this framework of contentious political economy offers a way to parse apart the complex interactions among claim-makers, power holders, market forces, and ecologies. !  71!  Chapter(3(–(Contentious(political(economy(  Figure 3.2: A dynamic, interactive framework for analyzing mobilization (as envisaged and diagrammed by McAdam et al. 2001:45 and reprinted by McAdam & Tarrow 2010:531).  In the formation of resource industries and in their subsequent governance, economic considerations involve both threats and opportunities to actors’ material interests and their identities. The development of new commodities and markets—such as biofuels—can provide opportunities to new entrants and creative opportunities for expansion by existing players, but can also create competition within and across existing markets, thereby posing threats by diverting resources or consumers to other pursuits, undermining the existence of specific groups within a sector, or even challenging entire sectors or groups. For biofuels, these mixed outcomes create divisions within and across sectors and groups, depending on how adaptable market strategies and producers’ identities are, and provide pressure points for forming and dissolving alliances in support of or resistant to the new technology or commodity. The new distancing of investors from producers and consumers in commodity chains (as described by Conca 2001) makes it difficult to assess the incentives and pressures on the range of actors involved in production and consumption. It is hard to see the global picture in such dispersed and multi-faceted chains, especially given the social as well as economic considerations that must be accounted for in market, policy, and consumption decisions. In spite of these challenges, contentious political economy offers approaches and tools borrowed from  !  72!  Chapter(3(–(Contentious(political(economy(  IPE to unpack these dynamics, through understanding commodity trading and its changes, along with the emerging authority of private actors in uncoordinated but powerful ways. Additionally, beyond the specific threats and opportunities from a resource, new markets or commodities can provide a focal point for the re-emergence or re-focusing of already-existing contentious issues. The emerging resource can spark the development of discourses and images that further advance past claims or resistance to claims. With biofuels, the emergence of this new agricultural commodity has garnered resistance from peasant movements in part because it represents the latest incarnation of efforts by the state or corporations to appropriate local lands and displace existing activities or people. Contentious politics offers a series of mechanisms involved in contentious claim-making that can be seen in various concatenations across different types of contention (see McAdam et al. 2001 for a discussion of multiple combinations of mechanisms in contentious episodes of social movements and revolutions, among others). Among the relevant mechanisms identified and defined by McAdam et al. (2001) are brokerage, collective attribution, certification, object shift, radicalization, category formation, and social appropriation. They define these as follows: brokerage (McAdam et al. 2001:142, explored in chapter 5) is "the linking of two or more currently unconnected social sites by a unit that mediates their relations with each other and/or with yet another site;" collective attribution of threat or opportunity (McAdam et al. 2001:95, seen at work in chapter 5) “involves a) invention or importation and b) diffusion of a shared definition concerning alterations in the likely consequences of possible actions (or, for that matter, failures to act) undertaken by some political actor;” certification (McAdam et al. 2001:145, 204, investigated in chapter 6), which is the “validation of actors, their performances, and their claims by external authorities,” is coupled with decertification, involving “the withdrawal of such validation by key certifying agents;”  !  73!  Chapter(3(–(Contentious(political(economy(  object shift (McAdam et al. 2001:144, seen in chapter 6) occurs through “alteration in relations between claimants and objects of claims” and “affect[s] the forms of collective claim making that are available, appropriate, and likely to be effective;” radicalization (McAdam et al. 2001:162, explored in chapter 7) consists of “increasing contradiction between prevailing claims, programs, self-descriptions, and descriptions of others across a boundary, and its opposite;” category formation (McAdam et al. 2001:143, taken up in chapter 7) “create[s] identities. A social category consists of a set of sites that share a boundary distinguishing all of them from and relating all of them to at least one set of sites visibly excluded by the boundary. Category formation occurs by means of three different submechanisms, through invention, borrowing, and encounter;” and social appropriation (McAdam et al. 2001:102, explored in chapter 7) is the term used when “particular actors frequently appropriate existing social space and collective identities in the service of these interpretations.” These mechanisms contribute to an understanding of the dynamic, contingent, and multi-layered character of contention, and provide ways to understand differing outcomes across time and space of claim-making efforts, along with their similarities. The advantage of these mechanisms for understanding the varying positions of individual groups and actors in different moments of contention is that they provide explanations for the breakdown of resistance, activism, and contentious claim-making—that is, for demobilization as well as mobilization—and provide clues for unpacking the behaviour and actions of those responding to claims as well as those making claims. The multiplicity of actors and positions can be captured using these mechanisms, and the insights of IPE and political ecology into motivations, incentives, and conditions for change can be integrated into them.  !  74!  Chapter(3(–(Contentious(political(economy(  The contentious political economy composite The framework borrows components of each of the three analytical lenses outlined above, to build a richer analysis than a single lens could offer for contested resources. The following discussion outlines the various parts of a contentious political economy framework, highlighting which parts are borrowed from each of the analytical approaches it draws on, and explaining how the framework considers them in concert. As with contentious politics, the framework explores how historical events condition new debates that emerge, and how these events create the space for alliances and movements to form and gain traction. It identifies contentious issues and brings to light the larger debates those issues might reflect. Following in the footsteps of contentious politics models, the contentious political economy framework looks at how not only economic interests and changes in markets but also shifts in political and social relations of power become both opportunities for and threats to power-holders. Along with this, and linked to its historical lens, the framework borrows from contentious politics’ use of event-based studies and identification of key moments and performances, through which claim-making performances can be assessed, particularly as claimmakers use and modify past accepted repertoires of contention. This provides the space for analyzing issue framing in light of strategic alliances, past debates, and previous repertoires of contention, to make sense of shifting discourses, movements, and counter-movements. These latter elements of the framework give us insight into the discourse and public framing dimensions of the strategies of resistance and responses, and the formation and breakdown of alliances, which are not always clear from an IPE analysis. Adopting the global and interest-based lens of international political economy, the contentious political economy framework identifies economic components of the issues under debate. Along with this, the IPE aspects of the framework allow us to consider key economic events and pivotal moments, where specific events linked to financial markets and economic forces provide opportunities and threats for social action. Using an IPE lens, which is particularly attuned to corporate actors, we can use the framework to identify targeted non-state actors (particularly  !  75!  Chapter(3(–(Contentious(political(economy(  corporate and transnational players), a feature often seen to be missing from a contentious politics approach. We can then use the framework to explore their alliances with state actors. What the framework adds to an IPE approach is a contentious politics look at how economic pressures might be involved in feedback loops and how they might intersect with social identities. This is particularly relevant with respect to the role of economic threats, where, bringing in aspects of contentious politics, the framework explores how these threats intersect with past occurrences of claim-making and claim-response. The explicit linking of economic and socio-political dimensions of new commodities extends the analysis beyond most political economy work and allows it to draw on work related to revolutions, rebellion, social movements, and changing alliances. From an international political economy of the environment perspective, we can understand how ecological characteristics influence exogenous shocks (how droughts lead to price shocks, for instance) and then, using contentious politics tools, we can assess how these shocks and moments of opportunity and threat are taken up by movements and counter-movements to further political and social aims. IPEE brings in some considerations of the ways in which economies affect the environment and environmental pressures influence economies, and so provides a useful lens on resource and environment-based conflicts. To supplement this attention to the environment, particularly to bring to light the social dynamics that emerge from particular geographies and ecologies, a political ecology lens is useful. Political ecology is well-attuned to the links between social identities, historical pressures, and—as with political economy—it makes visible the otherwise elusive links between local practices and distant political economies. This provides an additional perspective that clarifies the connections between local production and power relations and market forces at the international scale. Thus, part of the additional value provided by a contentious political economy framework, which is not offered through either only an IPEE or contentious politics lens, is the geographic element of how ecological resource characteristics and spatial dynamics are linked with social values. It provides a way of assessing how social movements around the environment, biodiversity,  !  76!  Chapter(3(–(Contentious(political(economy(  cultural heritage, and other aspects of identity and values intersect with economic pressures of livelihood and production, in the context of specific ecologies. 3.3 POWER-HOLDERS & CLAIM-MAKERS States and transnational corporations (TNCs) In many political analyses, economics are central to the identity and functioning of the state, since tax revenues and the economic underpinnings of the state are a critical part of understanding state formation and control (see e.g., Levi 1989). This plays out at the domestic level, where governments hold power through the control of economic interactions (as rulesetters, tax collectors, and dictators of systems of trade), and, equally, strongly influence international relations, as cross-border trade and international markets bring countries into interaction in complex ways. Moreover, these economic relations link international and transnational policies and debates to very local places, particularly with respect to economic activities centred on natural resources. In the current global landscape of economic interaction, the power and influence of both state and non-state actors is under examination, as corporations and other non- and inter-governmental organizations and institutions take on various positions of social and political authority. Much contentious politics work conceptualizes claim-makers as societal actors with less access to power, where power is typically held or reinforced by the state. In McAdam et al.’s (2001:12) terms, organized political actors with “routine access to government agents and resources” are labeled “polity members,” while those lacking that access are “challengers” (and those who are not yet “organized into constituted political actors” are considered “subjects”). To address such divisions and objects of analysis, power itself must be discussed. This project will not delve into deep debates over power and authority—as sensitive and thoughtful work abounds in international relations and global governance literature on the topic (see, for example, Lukes 2005, and his references, with particular attention to his claim that “the concept of power is essentially contested,” 2005:477)—but instead will defer to the categories and understanding of power suggested by Fuchs (2005) in her work on the increasing political power of business.  !  77!  Chapter(3(–(Contentious(political(economy(  Defining power “in terms of the ability of actors – in this case business actors – to pursue successfully a desired political objective,” Fuchs (2005:771, 774) presents three types or facets of power: instrumental, structural, and discursive. Referring to earlier work by Lukes, Fuchs (2005:774) explains that her approach “has interesting connections to Steven Luke’s ontology of power, in which he delineates the ‘three faces of power’” but adds “Lukes considers these to be competing concepts of power, in contrast to the approach taken by the present analysis.” In Fuchs’ (2005) assessment, power can be instrumental (measured by influence on policy or political outputs), structural (context-determining material and ideational power involving setting agendas and rules and defining issues), or discursive (involving a sociological perspective on power consisting of identity-formation, determining symbols and story-lines, and creating the boundaries of what counts as evidence and argument). This perspective on a multiplicity of kinds of power provides additional insights into how actors can be both power-holders and claimmakers simultaneously, and how non-state actors can hold power in some areas while still lacking it in others. Beyond differentiating between public and private actors, an assessment of claim-making and contention further requires disaggregating actors within these broad categories. Current structures of governance (especially in the context of economic power) sometimes place states themselves in opposition to, rather than in alliance with (or as part of), the power-holders. As is familiar to international relations scholars, in an unequal global setting it may be some powerful states or collections of states that hold power, while others contest that power. Or, as economics often dictate governance and policy choices, it may be corporations or other private sector actors that hold power. Moreover, sets of actors can gain or lose power in different contexts and settings, and may in some cases hold power and in others struggle to attain it. For instance, competition between different corporations or sectors, or between states on the international stage, can lead to such situations. And economically-oriented analyses of power find that corporations rather than states may hold power, particularly in cases where transnational corporations have found ways to bypass or skirt state control. However, as already noted, while broad categories can help provide  !  78!  Chapter(3(–(Contentious(political(economy(  order to a complex field of actors in contentious interactions, there are dangers involved in inferring positions of power or resistance from homogenizing categories such as “the state” or “corporations.” Further complicating the picture of actors in claim-making processes are questions of voice and representation. First, in some cases of interactions among power-holders and those seeking political change, the ability for some claim-makers to participate depends on their recognition and acceptance as actors by power-holders. As Newell (2005:543) outlines in work on the limits of corporate social responsibility, marginalized sectors within communities may be left out of some regulatory development processes if “they are not identified as a legitimate stakeholder group” or, importantly, if it is assumed that NGOs or other organizations “will act as adequate intermediaries for the representation of [their] concerns.” This aligns with questions raised about representation and its legitimacy by Newell (2010:477), which he addresses in the context of work on deliberative democratic processes for environmental problems where the costs will be borne in the future, where concerns arise about “who speaks for whom and on what basis.” While these are particularly tricky questions in the context of future, unknown, and voiceless potential stakeholders, they are by no means resolved even for current stakeholders. Fields of power and multiple identities What existing models of contentious politics recognize implicitly, but often not explicitly, is that power-holding and marginalization depends at times on the level of analysis and the specific context being assessed. Identity politics work tells us that groups may hold power in some settings while simultaneously being marginalized in others, and that some groups within categories may have power while others do not (on such divisions within movements, see, e.g., Ward 2008). This is relevant for analyses of contestation that cross local and transnational lines and involve multiple identity groups, as the ways in which groups make or respond to claims will be shaped by their perceived positions across multiple contexts or forums, as will their interests and positions within these identity groups. Further, scholars of identity politics stress that identities “that are relevant to collective action are not static entities but instead are dynamic  !  79!  Chapter(3(–(Contentious(political(economy(  forces” (Einwohner et al. 2008:4), and identifying shared identities and carving out difference takes work, both within movements and by the scholars who study them. Across large transnational corporations, for example, some firms or entire sectors might be threatened by economic and political changes that bolster others. For example, some agricultural and chemical companies are strengthened by new markets for agricultural products, such as food crops for bioethanol, as they can increase their sales of seeds, farm equipment, and fertilizers, and expand their markets to new producers. Depending on their position in the supply and production chains, though, others may be threatened by these new markets. Livestock producers reliant on feedstock inputs, and large grocery retailers reliant on food products might be harmed by the emergence of non-food destinations for these crops, as they present more competition and the potential for higher prices. While these large retailers and livestock producers would be illcharacterized as “marginal” voices speaking up against hegemonic power structures, they nonetheless have incentives to challenge the direction of biofuels development, and may ally with other actors resisting these dominant power-holders. Similarly, in relation to other states, some states may be power holders while others may be claimants and resistors, particularly in economic terms. In the global South, for instance, some countries may dictate (or participate in setting) political and economic terms, while others may act as challengers and claim-makers against the resulting structures. Further, these positions may not remain static: power-holding may be quite contingent and contested, particularly when there is not a single, clear holder-of-power across all settings. While states may hold power in relation to domestic social groups, they may not in an international political field. These dynamics can lead to alliances among states, corporations, and other social groups that might seem surprising, and are not easily reconciled with either broad identity classifications or principled positions on economic and political ideologies. The divide between “members” and “challengers,” illustrated in McAdam & Tarrow’s visual schematic of the dynamics of contentious politics (2010:531), is helpful for conceptualizing divides in conflictive interactions. Still, these interactions must be considered both dynamic and contingent, with actors moving across and within movements and counter-movements depending on how issues are framed and which interests take precedence at any given time.  !  80!  Chapter(3(–(Contentious(political(economy(  Additionally, the blurring of public and private sector lines further complicates efforts to identify interests and power along sectoral demarcations. When, for example, a parastatal organization partners with a private company for agricultural production projects, or when non-governmental organizations ally with companies, the distinction between public and private interests becomes more complex, and the role of non-state actors in governance activities may increase. For instance, Hoffman & Bertels (2009) challenge the categories of ‘NGO’ and ‘corporation’ in determining which groups form the environmental movement. Although Graz & Nolke (2008b) express reservations about the limits of transnational private governance, questioning both the transnationalism and the private nature of its authority, they explain “…the logic of action and the potential of change embodied by non-state actors has become a core feature of new forms of authority in the global realm” (2008:2). They elaborate that transnational private actors not only lobby governments but also get involved in the actual activities of governance. In addition, they obey rules not exclusively set by the state, but created through mechanisms such as rating agencies, international capital adequacy frameworks, and transnational elite clubs. Consequently, assessments of power-holding and rule-setting power are difficult to make within clear categories—and these blurred boundaries help explain shifting alliances and positions in claimmaking efforts. Framed as contentious political economy, analyses of these international economic interactions can be approached with a lens of openness to how state-society relations have changed and are changing, and how various players among state and non-state groups can ally, cohere, conflict, and interact, in response to the actions of others and of shocks and exogenous changes in conditions. Interactive and shifting power relations One underlying question driving this analysis is how different groups in society and the state act and interact over resource control and governance issues, particularly in cases where the economic stakes are high, as with commodities—energy and agricultural products, for instance— that span multiple sectors and enter into transnational economic markets. To make sense of the  !  81!  Chapter(3(–(Contentious(political(economy(  contention that arises around these sector- and border-crossing issues, and to unravel the complex and seemingly unpredictable alliances and oppositions that form around them, we must look at multiple levels of analysis and layers of interactions. To gain traction across these levels and actors, we can look at three main sets of forces at both local and international levels (noting, of course, that these distinctions are somewhat artificial, used for gaining analytical traction but with recognition that the categories are neither firmly bounded nor mutually exclusive): economic forces (markets and corporations), political forces (policies and governments), and environmental and social forces (activism and communities). An additional caveat, given the earlier discussion of multiple and fractured identity groups, is that the general category does not indicate that actors and groups within these categories will be allied on any given project or issue, and so should not be used as shorthand for positions within movements and countermovements. The relational approach to the analysis of power from a contentious politics framework allows for its extension into these cases where power holders are unexpected or shifting, and in which governments are at times the target of claims and at other times allied with claim-makers against power-holders. Interactions among claim-makers and claim-targets happen in the context of economic and political systems, which, as discussed, can act as both exogenous and endogenous factors in the interactions. Changes in economic or political conditions provide new opportunities and threats around which movements and counter-movements can organize new episodes of advancing or countering claims; and, concurrently, discourses and performances by claim-makers and respondents can change both economic and political conditions (which is, of course, the point of their actions). As Pettman (2011:138) highlights, the economy is “in fact only one type of possible economies: an arrangement that has been increasingly naturalized through discourse and habit,” but remains open to questioning. In cases where the issues of concern are related to the environment, specific political ecologies intersect with political economies of resources and resource industries. The ecological configurations influence the politics that arise around natural resource commodities, and, equally, the intersection of these ecological considerations with the economics of different products shapes the politics dimensions that arise around them.  !  82!  Chapter(3(–(Contentious(political(economy(  Actors, groups, and alliances While the dynamics of commodity prices, international markets, and global trade systems often seem abstract and baffling, adopting an economic lens on the political identities and interactions of actors can help make sense of these complex politics. As with other contentious politics studies, a contentious political economy framework requires identifying who the various claimmakers are, what their positions are, and how they developed the repertoires they use based on past experiences and conflicts. The aim of such work is not only to understand why certain groups hold specific positions on any given issue, but also to better understand the ways in which political claims are made and how and why certain voices are heard and acted upon, while others remain marginal and ignored. In a critique of some of the work of Keck & Sikkink on transnational advocacy networks (TANs), in which they define TANs based on principled beliefs or values (1998:1), Sell & Prakash (2004) challenge the assumption that NGOs operate from a values-driven position while corporations are motivated by material interests. They contend that NGOs can have material interests that influence their strategic positions, and that instrumental actors can have normative motivations (2004:148). They argue that “[s]uccess in influencing policy processes lies not in claimed moral superiority of the agenda but in the network’s superior abilities to create and make the most of political opportunities by exploiting a crisis, constructing a problem, mobilizing a coalition, and grafting its agenda onto policy debates” (2004:149). Along the lines of alliances and networks as strategically, rather than normatively or socially cohesive, Latour (1988:222) states that “[n]etworks are tenuous, fragile, and sparse….We are able to convince only by extending the network, in other words by reducing the scale of whatever is absorbed.” Although his argument is focused on the ways in which scientific authority is asserted and furthered, his claims are relevant to many situations in which actors with competing perspectives are vying for control. However, the observation that alliances within movements and counter-movements can shift, and that actors can strategically align themselves with claim-makers at some points and claim-  !  83!  Chapter(3(–(Contentious(political(economy(  respondents at another, should not be understood as the abandonment by those actors of principled positions. Moreover, strategic alliances do not negate the potential for participation in movements and counter-movements to influence the interests and even the identities of participating actors. While their success in influencing the policy process may lie in their strategic actions (e.g., agenda grafting, problem definition, and alliance formation), their motivations for changing policy—and the directions in which they attempt to change it—reflect their normative goals, and the actions in which they engage can build new social relations and have effects on the goals and identities of the participants. To understand the broader dynamics of contentious political economy, it is necessary to separate the principled positions of an actor or group about a given issue with the strategic positions they may adopt within a movement or countermovement. Strategy is not antithetical to value and principles, and this becomes most clear when the values and principles are not associated with the level of the movement but with the level of the group or actor. How economic systems arise and are shaped around different resources influences which actors hold power over resource and self-governance. The specific economics of commodities— dictated in part (although not exclusively) by their specific ecologies—influence how they can be taken up in political contestation. As global economic integration proceeds at a rapid pace, the diverging responses of actors within groups (states, communities, or corporations, for instance) to complex environmental problems can be attributed in part to the emerging economic opportunities and threats.  Governance and investment This dissertation discusses contention around investments in biofuels and the regulation and management of specific projects. It also addresses the broader field of biofuels governance, referring to the rules and structures of authority that dictate how trade, production, property and access rights, and costs and benefits are organized, altered, and distributed. Thus, it looks to the specifics of biofuels projects (investments in, guidelines for, and modifications to the specific  !  84!  Chapter(3(–(Contentious(political(economy(  details of projects, companies, and feedstocks) as well as to the overarching characteristics of the energy, agriculture, and trade systems that control and support these projects (by determining what incentives and burdens are involved in development projects and resource use, and how power is distributed among the actors involved, from corporations to governments to local communities). Governance, in this project, is closely linked to the discussions of power above, particularly with reference to Fuchs (2005) in terms of the realms of power. Global governance is the subject of much debate in global environmental politics and international law scholarship, but, in general terms, is understood as a multi-sectoral, extra-legal, and multi-level affair. For instance, as von Bogdandy et al. (2010:7) contend, global governance recognizes both international institutions and non-institutionalized actors and instruments, involves public and private or hybrid actors, involves structures and procedures beyond established legal categories, and involves actors across international, national, and supra-national levels. This project takes on an understanding of global governance that spans institutional and non-institutionalized regulation and control, and, importantly, considers both public and private realms of power-holding. Borrowing from the literature on international relations, global environmental politics, and business and management, this dissertation examines biofuels governance in terms of governmental and inter-governmental rule-setting and also emerging forms of private regulation. Governmental policies, in later chapters, are described as catalysts and signals for investors in the private sector; private initiatives, too, including corporate social responsibility and sustainability round-tables, are discussed as strategies through which multiple actors vie for control of the biofuels sector and shape its development and the opportunities emerging from feedstock production. From the perspective of emerging understandings of global governance with the rise of non-state, and especially corporate actors as economic powers and growing political players, this project contributes to an understanding of the shifting role of the private sector in interactions with states (the traditional rule-setters) and other parts of civil society (communities, non-governmental organizations, and other business actors).  !  85!  Chapter(3(–(Contentious(political(economy(  Falkner (2003:73), in work on private environmental governance, specifies that governance is not only the “spontaneous convergence of private actors’ interests via the coordinating function of markets” but instead “emerges out of a context of interaction that is institutionalized and of a more permanent nature.” Although he warns that some scholarship on private environmental governance overstates the systemic changes in power that result from the growing role of corporations in the international arena (Falkner 2003:75), his assessment still acknowledges that there are transformations of power and authority at the global level linked with the changing dynamics in the economic realm and the shifting roles of corporations. Particularly helpful for the ensuing analyses in this dissertation are Falkner’s comments on the overlapping and indistinct nature of public and private actors and realms. He writes: what might be called the “pure” form of private governance (governance outside the realm of the states-system) is of only limited empirical and conceptual relevance. For most instances of [private environmental governance] are of the kind that are better described as “mixed” regimes, where “the boundary between public and private spheres is blurred.” Hybrid private-public governance emerges out of the interactions of private actors, either with the involvement of states or with the later adoption, or codification, by states and/or intergovernmental organizations. States are not the driving force behind the creation of such governance systems, but lend them strength through official recognition or incorporation into international law.  In the context of the realms of governance that shape the development of biofuels—specifically agricultural and energy production and trade along with the more abstract financial realm—the links between corporate actors and governments are entrenched through, for example, taxation, land ownership laws, health and safety regulations, national security provisions, control of monopolies and cartels, and rules on speculation and commodity trading. In some cases, governments set rules that corporations then must follow (leading to incentives for finding ways to reduce costs, increase markets, and maximize price margins). In other cases, corporations are finding ways to encourage governments to delegate rule-setting authority to them or to avoid more stringent regulations by pre-empting action in areas of sustainability or safety.  !  86!  Chapter(3(–(Contentious(political(economy(  As Falkner (2003:77) notes, private environmental governance tends not to signal the demise of state power, as states tend to have substantial control over the kinds of private governance they allow and encourage. While these activities might be at least in part state-sanctioned, this still leaves many questions about the nature of state-corporate relationships, in terms of which levels of government are involved in allowing and encouraging private sector authority, which states are setting the rules, how much influence different sectors of society have over these changes in rule-setting authority, and how responsive both states and corporations are to civil society claimmaking efforts related to the rules and their impacts. Falkner, too, notes that “the rise in [private environmental governance] undoubtedly enhances the position and legitimacy of corporations in [global environmental politics]” and suggests these developments require “more careful analysis of the changing conditions of “stateness” (the institutional centrality of the state) in an era of globalization” (Falkner 2003:78). This project, through the case of biofuels politics and economics, seeks to contribute to these investigations of the changing nature of governmental and private authority, and the relationships among states, corporations, and societies. 3.4 CONCLUSIONS We can better understand the picture of global land transfers and the intersection of energy and agriculture sectors through a lens that anticipates shifting and variable processes than through one that expects linear transformations. Further, explicitly identifying economic drivers, pressures, incentives, and responses helps to clarify the changing positions of various actors around these commodities and exchanges. Consequently, adopting the theoretical framework of contentious political economy helps us make sense of confusing contestation over resource governance and resource markets. To summarize this framework (and to highlight the following chapters in which these analyses will be taken up), the model of contentious political economy:  •  Identifies contentious issues and considers what larger debates those issues might reflect. This includes identifying how multiple movements and counter-movements arise in the debates over contentious issues, such as pro- and anti-biofuels positions (chapter 4);  !  87!  Chapter(3(–(Contentious(political(economy(  •  Identifies economic components of the issues under debate, and how economic pressures might be involved in feedback loops. This can include identifying economic actors (e.g., corporations, banks, investors, consumers); exogenous economic drivers (e.g., currency crises, prices, markets); and endogenous economic responses (e.g., prices, investments, changes in ownership and control over production processes) (chapter 4);  •  Identifies dominant power structures and actions of resistance, and how these actions become both opportunities for and threats to power-holders (chapter 5);  •  Considers key economic events and pivotal moments, where markets and other economic forces create new opportunities or threats to various actors, and re-shape both movements and counter-movements (chapter 6);  •  Assesses the role of economic threats from new commodity markets in contestation, and analyzes how economic interests are layered with group identities, political histories, and ongoing resource and territorial claims (chapter 6);  •  Considers ecological resource characteristics and spatial dynamics, and assesses how these might influence the economic systems and debates around contentious issues. This stage involves analyzing how ecological characteristics influence exogenous shocks, and how these are taken up by movements and counter-movements to further political and social aims (chapter 6);  •  Identifies targeted non-state actors (particularly corporate and transnational players)— and their alliances with state actors—that are the focus of the actions of claim-makers, and links these with economic interests (chapter 7);  •  Analyzes claim-making performances, strategies of resistance and responses, and the formation and breakdown of alliances (chapter 7); and  •  Analyzes issue framing in light of strategic alliances, past debates, and previous repertoires of contention, to make sense of shifting discourses, movements, and countermovements (chapter 8).  This framework contributes to discerning a dynamic order from seemingly chaotic sets of debates and struggles for power. With this framework, we can turn to cycles of contention within specific resource debates, paying attention to discrete (albeit overlapping) streams of contention over several periods of time. By applying the insights developed in previous contentious politics  !  88!  Chapter(3(–(Contentious(political(economy(  work to emerging situations in which competing economic structures and historical grievances intersect, we can better make sense of how multiple challengers advance claims on local, national, and international targets and resist claims made against them. Further, applying contentious politics theories to questions of international markets and global trade allows the insights gleaned from contentious politics to inform analyses of global economic issues that intersect with security and the environment. Even seemingly clear-cut debates—such as the seal hunt, which can be framed in blunt pro- and anti-terms—tend to reflect broader areas of disagreement in social and political organization. The seal hunt, for instance, can be portrayed as a conservation or animal rights faction against groups arguing for economic opportunities and cultural expression (for a discussion of the contentious politics surrounding seal hunt activism, see Dauvergne & Neville 2011). These differing framings reveal the deeper ideological concerns of their proponents, and help to explain some shifting alliances in movements and counter-movements. Similarly, at first glance, the biofuels case appears to consist of constantly shifting positions leading to unstable and incoherent results. Yet these resolve into comprehensible patterns if we understand the contestation not in terms of principled lines about biofuels themselves, but instead as the intersection of groups with different grievances and goals using biofuels as symbols and tools for making claims. The next chapter turns to the shifting alliances resulting from the alignment and misalignment of different groups as they fall on different sides of issues, depending on their major concerns and histories of claims. To make sense of these, it introduces the temporal and thematic analytic categories that will be used through the rest of the dissertation. Further, it examines the implications for the political economy of trade, agriculture, and food and energy systems, as the confluence of multiple histories of claim-making means there is often no clear challenger or power-holder, but rather shifting constellations of actors and groups.  !  89!  Chapter(4(–(Episodes(&(streams(  CHAPTER 4 – EPISODES & STREAMS OF CONTENTION To assess the case of contestation over biofuels, this chapter turns to the first two parts of the contentious political economy framework, which involve identifying contentious issues and considering the larger debates those issues reflect, and identifying economic components of the issues under debate to determine how economic pressures are involved in feedback loops. This chapter provides the opportunity to explore the dynamics of contention over these emerging energy and agricultural commodities, and to begin to answer the questions of why actors have rapidly changed their positions and discourses around biofuels. The chapter argues that contentious interactions over biofuels are the latest episode in long-standing cycles of contention over multiple already-existing social, economic, and environmental issues, and, further, that economic opportunities in increasingly globalized markets provide new threats and opportunities to groups involved in those long-standing contentious interactions. This chapter proceeds in four sections. First, picking up from the framework outlined in chapter 3, it introduces the links between the corporate sector and social movements, and connects these to the question of how biofuels are used as a tool or political opportunity for launching new episodes of contention over long-standing grievances and processes of claim-making. It draws connections between contentious politics and the political economy of resource governance, through discussing actors’ economic incentives, the discourses used in promoting and resisting biofuels development, and the connections between local action and international movements. Second, it introduces temporal episodes and thematic streams to provide a structure for assessing these complex dynamics (noting, of course, that these categories are analytical constructs, and that the discourses and concerns brought to light in each are actually overlapping and concurrent in many cases). Third, it looks more closely at the links between economic incentives and each of the three streams through which it assesses the interaction between social movements and markets. This section considers how global economic forces influence how claim-makers and targets of claims take up issues and resources in political contestation and battles for political power. And fourth, it highlights some of the intersections across the three streams, to begin to illustrate how and why a political economy dimension is valuable to the contentious politics lens in understanding the historically-conditioned contestation over biofuels.  !  90!  Chapter(4(–(Episodes(&(streams(  The contribution of this chapter is to elucidate the first two parts of the analytic framework for contentious interactions over biofuels. It forwards an argument for understanding contention over the fuels as the product of strategic positioning by multiple intersecting movements, which adopt biofuels as the latest focusing issue to launch a new cycle in long-standing processes of contention across states, societies, transnational networks, and corporations. Beyond biofuels, this example provides insight into how multiple movements intersect and interact, and how this shapes the field of political and economic activism and responses to complex technologies and globalized commodities. 4.1 BIOFUELS & CONTENTION Contention around biofuels can be seen as exemplifying new forms of transnational contention in which activists form loosely-bound, leaderless, and temporary affiliations around common concerns (as described in Noakes & Gillham 2007:335, and Kavada 2005:72), although the defense of these “common concerns” may be contingent on how actors perceive the connections between the particular framing of the issue at a given time and their underlying motivations for participation in the movement. Biofuels can be understood as a focusing issue for already-extant movements, instead of as a new issue. Rather than being seen as an issue around which different discourses are developed on their own, where varying framings are used to promote or repress their development, biofuels can instead be seen as the latest political opportunity around which claims can be furthered for a range of existing grievances. The issue provides new openings (through opportunity or threat) for mobilizing actors and claimants with these long-standing grievances. Long-standing, in the context of these cycles of contention, can range from a few decades to over a century. Tensions can flare up frequently, or can be latent for long stretches, emerging only when new threats are perceived and forms of more subtle, private resistance can no longer be contained. The start and end points for both cycles and their internal episodes of contention are difficult to pinpoint, and often overlap. In general, episodes reflect some change in the ways in  !  91!  Chapter(4(–(Episodes(&(streams(  which an issue of contention is addressed by claim-makers: for biofuels, this involves their depiction as silver bullets, threats to food security, or land grab tools. The cycles of contention to which biofuels belong are broader: they include conflict over land tenure and access, autonomy for governance decisions, and processes of corporate consolidation. While the episodes of contention this dissertation addresses last for a few years, the cycles of contention to which they belong involve multiple lengths of time. For contestation over territory and control, these conflicts date back to colonial-era forays and occupations, in the 1800s; for industrialization of production and food systems, and concerns over cash crop dependence, they go back to the early 1900s, with economic growth in the colonies dependent on a few commodities; and for battles over autonomy and governance, they draw on post-colonial independence actions in the mid-1900s. This project analyzes biofuels contestation not as a single social movement but rather as the confluence of multiple movements with distinct histories and claims. It considers the episodes of contention over biofuels to be part of several different cycles of contention, each with their own histories, and some with hundreds of years of grievances on which to draw. This approach provides insight into the rapidly changing discourses that have surrounded biofuels developments, and can help explain the shifting alliances associated with contestation over these alternative energy technologies. The economics of commodities and contention Social movements, as described by Soule (2009:31-34), involve collective, public action by actors with common goals; she explains that these can take the form of contentious politics, for cases where governments are implicated in the contestation, or private politics, where social groups address private actors directly, without government involvement. For the anti-corporate actions that Soule investigates, these distinctions can provide useful analytical traction. However, as Soule herself highlights (2009:5), with reference to the “revolving door” of regulatory and corporate positions, there is an exchange of actors between the public and private sectors; further, the categories of state- and non-state actors break down upon scrutiny of investment,  !  92!  Chapter(4(–(Episodes(&(streams(  ownership, and partnerships between public and private actors, particularly where issues of resource exchange and globalized economies are involved. This dissertation draws on the insights of Soule’s anti-corporate activism analysis, but diverges from her work in considering how multiple alliances involved in contestation may not be motivated by a common goal but instead create strategically aligned goals for protest actions. The political economic threats and opportunities associated with biofuels can help make sense of failures to build coherent movements around biofuels, the continuing tumult over their production, splits between expected allies as well as alliances among expected opponents, challenges in activists’ messaging, and why different activist groups, corporate interests, and international institutions have changed their positions over time. For biofuels, some sets of actors approach the issue with anti-corporate agendas, particularly those concerned with food movements and the co-optation of agricultural systems by transnational corporations. These actors might be supporters of biofuels when developed by local producers, but skeptical of the corporate control over food and fuel systems. However, equally involved in contestation over biofuels are conservation advocates and land rights activists, some of whom may be less concerned about the public or private ownership of biofuels projects and feedstock production, and more concerned with the land rights for areas in which projects are developed, or the carbon footprint of which crops are grown and by which methods. Moreover, corporate actors themselves might be involved in some anti-biofuels movements, if they perceive their interests to be threatened by such developments. It would be difficult to categorize their activities as clearly anti-corporate, and yet some of the discourses they support might have aspects of that language and framing of the issues. The concerns of some of these actors may overlap, for instance where certain local land rights battles also support anti-corporate activities and lead to more environmentally sensitive patterns of land use and production; however, these goals might not always be aligned. We can understand the lack of coherence among groups making claims around biofuels, in part, as the result of multiple movements with different interests and goals intersecting and interacting. Actions against biofuels by a collection of actors might not, therefore, reflect a  !  93!  Chapter(4(–(Episodes(&(streams(  coherent common goal. They provide a symbolic focal point for a number of existing debates, and provide a political opportunity (or threat) around which those debates can re-emerge in the public realm, and around which at least short-term alliances can form within a contentious episode. The framing of biofuels in a given episode of contention can act as way to focus the diverse identities and interests within these strategic alliances, even as these actors also work to connect the focusing issue with their broader driving concerns. Thus, these emotional, moral, and rational appeals may have strong but short-lived and fluctuating effects, as movements and alliances change membership and discourses. Local, direct action and global, ideational movements Biofuels occupy an uncertain space in the study of movements, as the issue is often portrayed in the media as “pro-“ and “anti-biofuels,” but the ways the debates over these resources are taken up is actually more nuanced. Biofuels, therefore, highlight the problems involved in setting up social movements as dichotomies; what tends to occur, instead, is that power-holders and contenders at multiple levels respond to contentious issues in different ways, and strategically develop alliances and adopt discourses that further their aims. In contestation over resource governance, local level groups may have quite immediate concerns that revolve around specific lands, livelihoods, and goods, while more geographically disparate groups might see specific instances of resource conflict as indicative of broader social and environmental concerns, linked to ideational goals about social and political organization. Tilly distinguishes between types of contestation, identifying some forms as bifurcated, parochial, and particular and others as cosmopolitan, modular, and autonomous (Tilly 1995:4546), tracing out the shift from the former to the latter in political contestation in revolutionary England (as explained by Tarrow 2008:238).21 However, it is useful to see these strategies not as sequential alternatives for taking up politically contentious issues, but rather as approaches that can coexist as different groups with grievances act upon issues they perceive as either direct, local, and specific or as global, general, and illustrative. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 21  Tarrow (2008) discusses Tilly’s work on the changes in forms of contentious claim-making in light of structural transformations in British society from economic and political change.  !  94!  Chapter(4(–(Episodes(&(streams(  Analyzing the dynamics of transnational activism in the case of dam-building in the Amazon, McCormick (2010:36) writes: Lerche (2008) and Dufour & Giraud (2007) argue that most transnational activity is fairly weak and dependent on information, persuasion, and moral pressure. Since international organizations do not have formal political participatory power, they can only influence politics through these methods. At the same time, domestic actors are able to use their access to political structures, although those mechanisms are not always effective.  Such an analysis of the forms of power of international organizations may reflect the channels available within some types of movements, as with the two studies cited in the passage, on specific dimensions of political rights for marginalized caste groups in India and women’s rights, respectively. However, such a statement leaves out economic tools from the set of tools available to claim-makers (arguably more powerful than formal political participatory power, at least in some cases). Further, it does not capture the dynamics involved when contestation concerns politically- or economically-powerful actors as claim-makers and not just as targets of claims. In some cases, formal political actors and powerful industry sectors join in claim-making activity; this occurs, for instance, in biofuels debates where some national governments resist international biofuels developments and where some agricultural sectors protest biofuels policies. Categorizing claim-makers as politically weak and claim-targets as politically strong fails to capture the full range of actors and power relations involved in contentious political activity, especially where economic considerations are central. Information access and control can play a significant role in shifting the balance of power from power-holders to claim-makers and back again, and becomes relevant for understanding contentious interactions. This will be explored in chapter 5. Apart from the political economy dimension of contestation, though, McCormick’s broad analysis of the split agendas, identities, and tactics of international and local actors is compelling  !  95!  Chapter(4(–(Episodes(&(streams(  and informative, particularly in her assessment of “bifurcated battles” where “due to differing political and knowledge-based bounds, domestic and international movement actors utilize varying social movement agendas, have different types of growth trajectories, and ultimately achieve different types of successes” (2010:43). Her assessment emphasizes the divides that sometimes persist between local and transnational groups, where the aims of local groups may not always align with those of their transnational counterparts. Biofuels provide some examples of where parochial and particular contestation co-exist with cosmopolitan and modular contestation. Local direct action by landholders, community members, or workers against perceived threats to their lands or livelihoods have led to direct action against companies and governments, including barricades of plantations and warehouses and large public meetings. These direct actions against specific biofuels projects have also been taken up at the international level as examples of more general claims against land acquisition and corporate control of local resources, even where local actors did not have such sweeping aims. Transnational movements around land, labour, and resource ownership have been able to aggregate local events into a global picture, against which action can be taken using more generic forms of contestation, including legal channels and ideational claims. However, even though their actions in a given case might align with the principles of the transnational movement, local actors may not share the broader principles of those movements, as their interests may be more locally-oriented and contingent on the situation. Global agro-industries and transnational social movements Global agricultural systems, characterized by transnationally-linked, commodity-based, industrial-scale crop production and processing, have become intersection points for longstanding grievances surrounding land ownership, food sovereignty, corporate authority, and environmental degradation. Biofuels are an example of this intersection, where stakeholders forwarding claims related to land appropriation and neo-colonial practices, conservation and ecosystem protection, and corporate involvement in food production have all become involved in negotiations over and contestation about projects for biofuels production, particularly in the global South.  !  96!  Chapter(4(–(Episodes(&(streams(  The shifting perspectives on goods and resources, including biofuels, are influenced by the development of new environmental markets, including markets for carbon and ecosystem services, and by the increasing abstraction of market forces from physical goods themselves. As environmental goals are linked to financial mechanisms in global markets, the positions of some environmental and social activists become increasingly unclear. They wrestle with whether to promote or challenge these investments and incentives, and with what might be the implications of speculative investments and the “financialization” of commodities (an economic phenomenon described by Colbran 2011, Tang & Xiong 2010, Bastourre et al. 2010, and Burch & Lawrence 2009, among others, along with Clapp (2012a:125-157) on the process of financialization of food, involving developments in financial markets and the proliferation of new financial products), especially for local communities and ecosystems. Financialization, investments, and crisis language, along with mechanisms of certification, object shift, and radicalization, are taken up in chapter 6. These questions of energy alternatives and rural electrification become intertwined with debates over the consolidation of supply chains and growth of transnational corporations in the agricultural sector, leading to challenges in developing stable, ideationallyconsistent movements and counter-movements. Consequently, as with many complex social movements, contestation around biofuels cannot be easily divided into pro- and anti-biofuels camps. Instead, the picture is unsteady, with shifting alliances and coalitions, and changing uses of discourses at local and international levels. The tools of these rocky struggles over control of land (and other related resources, such as water) include discourse (e.g., language around food security, rural livelihoods, and energy security), maps, laws and policies, and media attention. These avenues for advancing claims helps shape what repertoires can be used in contentious performances by claim-makers and claimrespondents, as different opportunity structures and threats open up space for making claims. Using language and images that aim to resonate with extant social values, members and challengers take up specific issues as ways of advancing broader social goals. Considering discourses as contingent, and also as indicative of identities and interests, provides greater opportunities for understanding otherwise confusing and complex events of protest, resistance,  !  97!  Chapter(4(–(Episodes(&(streams(  and contestation, as chapters 6 and 7 demonstrate (with the former focused on framing, and the latter on repertoires and public performances). Frame construction and economic messaging One approach for furthering strategic aims is to gain control over the framing of a contentious issue, as controlling the language and images used to describe the issue can shape the potential responses from power-holders and possible allies alike. In frame construction, simple messages are preferred for the purposes of public activism and action, as it is difficult to convey complex claims to the public through most media channels and to evoke emotional responses to positions that involve nuance and context specificity. As Keck & Sikkink note, in discussions of “frame resonance” (1998:17), claim-makers must construct cognitive frames that are internally coherent and are meaningful to the public, and these are most powerful when links between actions and social harms can be portrayed as “issues involving bodily harm to vulnerable individuals, especially when there is a short and clear causal chain (or story) assigning responsibility” (1998:27). Although global economic systems are quite complex, the language of economic trade-offs can be conveyed in simplified language, and this holds power in current international debates. Economics offers a metric for making comparisons as well as a system of analysis that allows for the dismissal of externalities, and can disguise itself as a value-neutral approach to evaluating various options for production and consumption decisions. Given the power of economic messaging in resource-related contestation, a political economy lens on contentious politics provides insight into how various movements and counter-movements gain and lose control over issue-framing and governance. Actors involved in the debates over resource governance and development both shape and respond to a series of economic, ecological, technological, and discursive shifts that influence the economics of their decisions, such as: crop failures or booms, the invention of new products requiring the input of raw materials, the development of new markets, the introduction of new suppliers or buyers into a market, the creation of new technologies, and the discovery that goods  !  98!  Chapter(4(–(Episodes(&(streams(  are complementary or substitutes. These are socially- and scientifically-created changes that have implications for commodity prices and influence the economic dynamics of these resource markets. These are contingent on the physical characteristics of the resources and resource technologies and on the social characteristics of the societies in which producers, consumers, and investors reside, yet become part of quite abstract economic interactions—occupying intermediate and uncertain political spaces without clear geographic grounding—at the global level. 4.2 EPISODES & STREAMS: SHIFTING FRAMES & MOVEMENTS IN BIOFUELS CONTESTATION To understand the dynamics involved among actors engaged in resource governance contestation, this project uses an episode- and event-based approach (borrowed from Tilly & Tarrow 2007:36, among others) for examining contentious interactions over biofuels. This involves dividing the global public debates over biofuels into chronological periods defined by shifts in the major discourses and framings of these alternative fuels and by changes in the economic interests involved in their promotion or opposition. These periods allow analysts to identify intersections and interactions among multiple movements in debates over these new technologies and commodities. This dissertation thus aims to capture the differences between the dominant debates being carried out over biofuels (seen through temporal “episodes,” delineated by key events) and the motivations of the actors and groups engaged in and attempting to shape those debates (seen through thematic “streams,” based on identity- and interest-based clusters). Analytic categories Social scientists have begun to dismantle the discourses around biofuels—as carbon-neutral renewable fuels, competitors for scarce food and water resources, or excuses for neo-colonial land grabbing—to better understand how different ways of framing these fuels advances different interests and agendas. For many of these studies, the focus is on biofuels themselves: how they are promoted or battled reveals how they advance or threaten various economic and political interests (of, for instance, companies, local elites, or governments). To build on and further these research efforts, this chapter flips the angle of analysis to examine how biofuels are  !  99!  Chapter(4(–(Episodes(&(streams(  used as tools in multiple already-existing areas of contention. Rather than focusing only on biofuels themselves, this project considers biofuels as the latest contender in a series of technologies and commodities; these fuels, as with predecessor innovations, are taken up in new episodes of contention by actors with long-standing grievances, and provide a focal point for advancing claims in contentious interactions with established histories. Biofuels, in this view, become the newest tools in repeating and adapting cycles of contention. Episodes of contention The implications of rapidly shifting discourses and alliances for contentious politics and social movements are broad, and can be explored by looking at “episodes” that mark changes in the activism and contention over biofuels. These episodes include the rise of strategic and often highly emotional framings of energy and development issues, used by movements and countermovements to raise awareness of the growing international interest in biofuels and to attract support (across various sectors) for their positions on these energy sources. The episodes of ‘silver bullet’ optimism in the early 2000s, food versus fuel debates from 20072009, and land grab accusations of 2009-2012, are taken up in chapters 5 through 7, respectively. These capture the global shifts in the predominant discourse used to debate biofuels policies and projects, although they are in fact overlapping rather than entirely discrete. The shift into each new episode does not indicate the disappearance of the previous framings. Rather, each shift reveals strategic efforts to shape the debates in new (and sympathetic) ways (with economic and emotional language and claims), and to provoke a surge of interest in the issue through novel approaches to claim-making. The discourses reflect both material and ideational responses to the potential impacts of biofuels, and indicate shifts in the perceptions of the financial implications of biofuels development, as companies, governments, and communities identify threats and opportunities for their livelihoods and businesses associated with these fuels. Thus, the changes in language and images associated with biofuels discussions will be considered in conjunction with the economic dimensions of biofuels policies and production as the industry develops over time.  !  100!  Chapter(4(–(Episodes(&(streams(  These biofuels episodes intersect (and are in part driven by) three periods of economic interests in these fuels: one, biofuels as part of counter-hegemonic resistance (by non-governmental organizations and by a few states in the global South) to the corporate control of an oildominated economy, from an economically marginal position in the energy market; two, growing economic potential of biofuels, with the identification of market opportunities for agriculture, corporate and state partnerships for biofuels development (and policy support from Northern states considering or instituting biofuels mandates providing market incentives); and three, still-growing but unstable markets for biofuels, as some countries invest in their production (particularly hegemonic states in the global North and some emerging leaders in the global South) while others fluctuate on policies around biofuels and their sustainability. The analytical distinction between episodes provides insight into the ways in which different actors are able to co-opt the language used to discuss these fuels, and, too, to highlight the ways in which political opportunities and threats open up and in which groups capitalize upon these structural shifts to forward their claims and counter-claims. Yet throughout the dissertation the analysis takes into account the continued use of previously-dominant discourses in the new episodes. Rather than the key events acting as clean breaks, they are signals of a shift in the central framing of the debates; the new framings used are not taken up equally by all actors, and they remain contested and in constant need of reinforcement by those using them. Articulating the ways in which biofuels have appeared in the public sphere within these episodes captures only some of the ways in which they are framed. For instance, Talamini et al. (2010) find divergence among themes emphasized in biofuels coverage by the mass media and scientific papers, linking these to public policy developments; these findings reveal that the framing of biofuels issues is not consistent across sectors, and, as Delshad (2009:18)22 notes, multiple frames can coexist through time.  !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 22!Preliminary!work!by!Delshad!(2009)!indicates!that,!although!multiple!frames!coexisted!throughout!the!study!period,! the!predominant!frame!of!energy!independence!gave!way!to!a!food!versus!fuel!frame!in!2006H2007.!  !  101!  Chapter(4(–(Episodes(&(streams(  A number of other studies examine media and public discourses around biofuels to consider how movements and counter-movements have formed around issues related to agricultural products, rural development opportunities, corporate interest in commodity production, alternative energy development, food security, and other related issues. In a US context, Wright & Reid (2011) find evidence of frames constructed by the media of economic development, environment, and national security. Focusing on the Netherlands, a mixed-method study found environment, food, and generation (the latter described as a “technological” cluster, addressing production methods and feedstock types) to be the key frames for discussions of biofuels (Sengers et al. 2010). On perceptions of media coverage, Sengers et al. (2010:5019-5020) also note that their interviewees commented on the initial low levels of media coverage, rising coverage in 2005, a spike with concerns about biofuels and food in 2007-2008, and a subsequent decline since late 2008; similarly, Qu et al. (2009:2303) find that online coverage of bioenergy in China is low until 2003 and increases from 2004 onwards. Further, Qu et al. (2009:2303, 2306) focus on the tone of information available from Chinese online sources on biofuels, with their findings indicating that bio-energy is generally portrayed positively. These characterizations of the changing economics and discourses do not capture all the complexities and positions that have emerged in each period, and, further, the episode classification proposed for this project pulls apart food systems from land rights issues, which in some cluster and content analyses are grouped together. Consequently, this analysis of the episodes and events does not capture all the competing frames involved in biofuels debates, nor does it provide the only valid episodic division of biofuels debates. Nonetheless, they do indicate the main catch-phrases and dominant economic forces associated with movements and countermovements’ public discussions of biofuels. The three streams identified in this work capture many of the frames highlighted in other studies; for example, national security concerns resonate with issues of land rights and sovereignty, as they centre on resource and territorial control as critical for the functioning of a state within larger sets of concerns, and interest in generation (production and source) could be included in concerns over food security (feedstock crops that do not compete with food) or in questions of land rights (what activities are being displaced by the shift to specific feedstocks, and how are  !  102!  Chapter(4(–(Episodes(&(streams(  different land uses and production methods being introduced and accommodated). Further, some of the frames identified by other studies—especially economic concerns—are considered in this project as cross-cutting issues rather than as independent structures for assessing biofuels debates. Thus, the stylized periods identified for this dissertation describe recent major episodes of contention around biofuels and provide a useful temporal template for analysis. Streams of contention Unlike some contentious battles, such as the pro- and anti-sealing movements, the picture appears more complicated in the case of biofuels. Biofuels have been promoted and attacked, often by the same groups, leading to rapidly shifting discourses. To resolve the seemingly incoherent goals and misaligned motivations within groups working on biofuels issues, rather than focusing on biofuels debates as a single movement and counter-movement, this approach argues that biofuels are being used as a strategic tool around which multiple movements (and counter-movements) can advance their claims. Biofuels provide a new focal point around which existing campaigns and coalitions can renew long-standing claims, acting as the latest political opportunity or bearer of political threat around which new episodes of contention can arise. Through such a lens, the main concern is not the outcome of biofuels production itself, but rather the implications such outcomes have for associated issues: for instance, conservation concerns, the structure of agricultural systems and markets, and community land rights and participation. Existing social movements can modify their strategies to use biofuels as a new tool in ongoing claim-making efforts. For biofuels, three sets of claims and claimants arise as the major drivers of contention: an environmental and conservation movement; a globalization, corporations and food systems governance movement; and a land rights and neo-colonialism movement. While these movements are themselves fuzzy and overlapping (as, for example, land rights advocates often voice environmental concerns, and are concerned with challenging industrial, corporate agriculture), and claimants often identify with multiple movements, these three streams offer analytic traction on the shifting biofuels debates, and help explain the rise of various discourses.  !  103!  Chapter(4(–(Episodes(&(streams(  As with the episodes of contention, these social movements categories, identified through shared motivations and normative positions, are admittedly stylized, since there are varying perspectives even within each stream. Further, actors can change their positions (and even identities) through participation in movements and activism. However, there are some roughly defined sets of interests around which actors tend to coalesce in the debates over biofuels, and that motivate the advocacy networks that form. These streams offer a useful simplified framework through which to understand the multiplicity of positions that inform debates and public action with respect to biofuels. Actors within the streams of contention are involved in creating and promoting different perspectives on biofuels. These actors and groups take advantage of (and create) political opportunities to advance their claims, including strategic alliances across streams. Interactions among streams, and varying success by groups within streams in publicly advancing their claims, have led to a shift in the global discourse around these alternative fuels, and to the coherence of dominant frames that define episodes of contention. Specifying distinct streams of contention (referring to differing sets of motivations, grouped under discrete social movement umbrellas) provides further insight into the ways in which claims are advanced and debates are conducted. Streams refer to the dominant historical movements that converge around energy and agricultural issues and that use biofuels as a focusing issue for their latest episodes of claim-making and contention. Actors with histories of contestation and action from all three streams make demands on global economic systems, and resolving conflicts within each stream has repercussions for how trade systems and national economies operate in a highly-interconnected financial and material world. For conservation and the environment, solutions vary from improved local environmental practices to a demand for the total rethinking of energy use and fundamental changes in consumption and production systems. For food systems governance, the debates revolve around approaches to food production and the current system of interchangeable commodities on financial markets, along with the role of multinational corporations in food production and processing. For social justice and local control of land, concerns relate to decision-making processes, international investment, and protection for sovereign decision making about local  !  104!  Chapter(4(–(Episodes(&(streams(  lands and activities. Consequently, the implications for governance and development of biofuels are not clear within each stream, let alone across all three. The streams are not ways of defining the dominant public framings of biofuels themselves, but rather explain some of the reasons that the framings used in various episodes have such strong social and political power. They are all implicated in debates over biofuels projects, where the distinct grievances and claims involved in each helps to explain the seemingly fragmented movements and campaigns surrounding biofuels. 4.3 BEYOND SOCIAL MOVEMENTS: HISTORIES OF RESOURCE & PRODUCTION CLAIMS While subsequent chapters will more explicitly trace out the economics, discourses, and implications of biofuels debates for social movements, this section offers a brief introduction to the intersection of biofuels economics with the three social movement streams using the contentious political economy analytical framework. Biofuels are the latest political opportunity and bearer of political threat around which new episodes of contention can arise. These opportunities and threats intersect somewhat differently with different claims and claimants. The coalescence of claims around biofuels associated with these different movements has resulted in a shift in global discourses around biofuels, as different groups have been successful in advancing their claims publicly. In light of the diverse—and interconnected—impacts of biofuels (and especially commercial-scale biofuels), the three identified social movement streams have taken up support of and resistance to biofuels in different ways. At times, these movements have aligned for collective contestation of production methods and policies, as they find ways to strategically advance their own movements’ goals through partnerships and protest. Environment and conservation Biofuels have been promoted as replacements for fossil fuels, and thus a solution to climate change. As described in chapter 2, since plants, when burned, give off the carbon they took up in their growth (unlike fossil fuels, where the carbon emissions are essentially net additions to the atmosphere since the carbon was taken up so long ago), some have described biofuels as carbon  !  105!  Chapter(4(–(Episodes(&(streams(  neutral fuels (Ragauskas et al. 2006). Absent the emissions from their production (through farm machinery, fertilizers, processing equipment, and transportation), this argument has some validity, at least for some biofuels, and some biofuels have lower greenhouse gas emissions than conventional fuels even when the full life-cycle is taken into account. However, as noted earlier, research showed significant variation in the environmental benefits (and costs) of many biofuels—especially, but not only, corn-based bioethanol (Pimentel 2003, Robertson et al. 2008, Searchinger et al. 2008, Pimentel 2009, Searchinger 2009). Economic incentives for conservation, including carbon markets as a tool for reducing emissions, have garnered strong attention from the environmental and business communities alike. These have been championed, although often warily, by some within the environmental movement. Strategies include payments for ecosystem services (PES) to provide financing for activities including watershed protection and carbon storage, land trusts and set-aside land. However, these approaches may come into conflict, leaving those within the environmental movement at odds with each other. Concerns, for instance, have been raised about the withdrawal of land from the Conservation Reserve Program and Wetlands Reserve Program for biofuels production in the US (Tennesen 2010). However, these trade-offs may not have major consequences on the ground, as, for example, Bond & Mayers (2010) find little evidence of the value of PES schemes for watershed conservation. With these questionable outcomes of various conservation schemes and technologies, environmentally-motivated actors are often left uncertain about the best ways forward. In challenging biofuels, environmental activists have turned to local and international legislative and regulatory frameworks, drawing on commitments to protected areas, environmental impact assessments, and multilateral environmental agreements (such as the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands).23 Environmental activists can use such commitments as a tool to force protection of local areas (and thus these commitments might be best understood in the context of civil society activism).  !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 23!“The!Ramsar!Convention”!and!“The!Ramsar!Convention!on!Wetlands”!are!used!interchangeably!with!the!convention’s! official!title,!“The!Convention!on!Wetlands!of!International!Importance!especially!as!Waterfowl!Habitat.”!  !  106!  Chapter(4(–(Episodes(&(streams(  Yet non-governmental organizations are not the only actors to promote environmental protection. Even in the absence of such activist pressure, international commitments might lead governments to resist economic activities that threaten protected or vulnerable areas, thereby pitting governments against corporations in resource appropriation or production activities. The evidence is mixed on the impact of such state-based commitments: in the case of wetlands, applying Ramsar status to wetlands was found to confer benefits on the wetlands and their associated local communities (Gardner et al. 2009), however, in some cases government policies can counteract stated conservation commitments, for instance where subsidies prop up agricultural commodity prices and where loans are offered for wetland development projects (Schuijt 2002). Even further, corporations with commitments to reducing their environmental impacts (carbon emissions, water use, etc.) might have strong incentives for pursuing conservation-oriented goals. Although corporate social responsibility programs have had limited success in influencing environmental outcomes (see, for example, Utting & Clapp 2008, on the limited outcomes of CSR), the scale of voluntary programs and the ambition of public statements around resource use has increased, and may provide new motivation for these companies to make environmentallyfocused choices (see, for instance, Bernstein & Cashore 2007 on the development of non-state market-driven mechanisms more broadly, and Auld 2010 and Lister 2011 on the potential for shaping business practices and environmental outcomes through the use of certification and labeling programs). However, the questions of which actions are in fact more environmentallysound remain uncertain: some companies promote biofuels as part of their environmental shift, while others align with critics to challenge the premise that biofuels are in fact a more environmentally responsible choice. Some of the work from environmental groups has been focused on promoting biofuels production as an alternative to fossil fuels, while others have poured their energy into challenging the optimistic portrayals of biofuels (and the continued modes of transportation and production that oil and oil-substitutes allow). In both cases, though through different means, the goals of those involved in the environmental movement have including reducing human impacts on the environment. For those focused on conservation and ecosystem protection, biofuels offer  !  107!  Chapter(4(–(Episodes(&(streams(  some possibilities as fossil fuel alternatives, but also present grave threats to ecosystem integrity, particularly when produced through large industrial agricultural systems based on monocrops and highly reliant on fertilizers, pesticides, and irrigation. Food systems governance and economic globalization In light of the increasing scale of production, and the growing integration of the agrifood and energy industries, challengers of globalization and critics of industrial food systems have reacted to the development of biofuels. The corporate model of agriculture and energy is based on an idealistic development ideology, involving the belief in export agriculture, technical solutions, and the rhetoric of green energy for both rural and more general global development. The principle of efficiency, in terms of maximizing production (although ignoring environmental externalities), also underpins these agricultural practices (for further work on efficiency and sufficiency, see Princen 2005). This might, in Scott’s (1998) terms, be characterized as a high modernist approach to food production. As with Scott’s state, corporations promote an economic order based on predictability, control from above, large-scale production (instead of localized, adaptable, smallscale production), and administrative ordering of labour and crops. The push towards predictability and standardization in food and energy supplies is exemplified by a ‘food regime’ (McMichael 2009) in which corporate ownership is concentrated (as documented by Clapp & Fuchs 2009 and McMichael 2009) and the scale of agribusiness and food commercialization is large (Pingali 2007). Equally, water resource management for agriculture has been driven by a commitment to modernization, science, and technology, often without engagement with and consideration of local communities and environments (Blake et al. 2009). Large-scale irrigation efforts dovetail with the state-led ‘hydraulic mission’ (Wester et al. 2009), in which centralized control over water resources represents efforts to maximize the ‘productive’ use of water, thereby controlling both space and people. Consequently, for challengers of these dominant systems of production, industrially-produced biofuels represent the latest incarnation of these environmental and social threats, as the power  !  108!  Chapter(4(–(Episodes(&(streams(  wielded by large corporations grows. While locally- and community-produced biofuels might be acceptable to some anti-corporate and anti-globalization advocates, the international push towards biofuels by states and large companies sparks their resistance. These activists question processes and initiatives that further consolidate corporate power over energy and agricultural products. Peasant movements and neo-colonial resistance The third stream involved in biofuels contestation is a movement around peasant and indigenous peoples’ rights and neo-colonial challenges. For these actors, the major issues at stake in negotiations over resource appropriation and control are those of land rights and resource ownership. While their concerns tend to include worries about environmental integrity and corporate consolidation of agricultural production, the dominant motivation of actors within this stream is less about international and large-scale production, and more about who owns the means of that production and who benefits from the outputs.24 Particularly in the context of formerly-colonized countries of the global South, these concerns revolve around coerced or unfair land- and resource-appropriation from politically- and economically-marginalized communities. The nature of property rights regimes, from open access to co-management to private property, along with the structure of political representation, influence how natural resources are used and controlled (Bulte & Engel 2006, Deacon & Mueller 2006). They also shape the ways in which corporations and states have access to (or are excluded from) resources, and the opportunities for communities to assert their presence and interests. While local governance structures and community control do not ensure environmental protection or social equality (see, for instance, Gibson & Becker 2000, Dietz et al. 2003, Dolsak & Ostrom 2003, Blaikie 2006), they provide the basis for some of the social movement activity around biofuels by focusing on community autonomy and challenges to state- and corporation-based control.  !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 24!For!a!series!of!papers!considering!peasant!movements,!land!rights,!and!associated!environmental!and!food!systems! concerns,!see!Borras!et(al.!(2010)!and!the!other!papers!in!that!special!issue;!see!also!Borras!&!Franco!(2010).!  !  109!  Chapter(4(–(Episodes(&(streams(  4.4 INTERSECTIONS & INSTITUTIONS Since contentious episodes take place within longer cycles of contention, institutional and social movement history is likely to prove relevant to the ways in which resources are accessed and how resistance to change is mounted. Past interactions between states and societies over resource management (and the level to which governing authorities felt the need to ‘see like states’ in Scott’s 1998 terms) shape current institutional arrangements and state-society and intra-society resource governance relations (Agrawal 2001, 2003, 2005, as noted by Haller & Merten 2008). These are, therefore, likely to influence state-society-corporation dynamics. Further, the level of institutionalized processes of governance and management can influence how quickly policies and practices can change, how durable the changes are, and how much influence citizens and community members can have in shaping government decisions. In Sundstrom’s (2002) work on women’s organizations in Russia, she writes of the limited successes that emerge from alliances with individual political leaders compared with those that arise from institutionalized relationships and broad social changes in attitudes and values. Following a discussion of crisis centre funding and anti-discrimination labour laws, she cautions that “[t]he disappointing side of these sporadic victories is that they occur in every case because there happen to be key individuals who are allies of the women’s movement within the government. They do not occur because of any more general, institutionalized government commitment to dialogue with NGOs or to improving the status of women” (Sundstrom 2002:213). Similarly, Harrison & Sundstrom (2007:8) find, in climate policy in Canada, that commitments made under Prime Minister Jean Chrétien were not upheld by subsequent Canadian leaders, and suggest “that policies inspired by politicians’ own ideational commitments may be more fragile than those inspired by sustained voter support.” From the perspective of NGO relationships with the state, friendly government officials and a lenient state might allow short-term victories for specific goals, but might, in the long-run, prevent them from achieving more lasting political power. Beznosova & Sundstrom (2009:33), in a comparative study of the effects of foreign aid on state-society relationships in Russia, found that externally-funded NGOs under a more authoritarian regime developed greater autonomy and  !  110!  Chapter(4(–(Episodes(&(streams(  a stronger civil society base than those operating under a more open, pro-democratic government. While the latter were able to achieve short-term gains, they remained statedominated; in contrast, the former built the foundation for more lasting, long-term cooperation with the state—differences that became evident once foreign funding was reduced. As found by scholars across areas of research—from climate politics to women’s rights to youth and disability advocacy—the level of individual leaders’ autonomy in political decision-making and the level of civil society independence from the government shape the options available to civil society members to assert their claims and insert themselves in policy-making and management. Historical arrangements of power, authority, and accountability consequently become relevant factors for understanding the ways in which different social groups voice demands, organize protest, and respond to change. If central governments disrupt (or inherit already-disrupted) community institutions but prove unwilling to enact and enforce alternate management regimes (a problem in Zambia, according to Haller and Merten 2008), corporations might encounter a relatively easy environment in which to appropriate and profit from local resources (although might face strong—and angry—local civil society groups); in contrast, if local management institutions are still in place, corporations might find little space in which to operate, and low willingness of landowners to sell, lease, or work land for industrial biofuels production. If governments have supported and promoted economic development through policies that benefit large corporations and corporate consolidation, this might leave a legacy of resentment among challengers who see small-scale business and local operations as more socially and environmentally sound. The entry of different claim-makers and targets of claims into the mix does not mean the subsidence of the others: we see the convergence, not the replacement, of these streams; further, we often see the stream getting muddier, not clearer, as these groups sometimes align and sometimes conflict. Consequently, understanding the histories and motivations of distinct movements involved in previous episodes of contentious politics will help resolve the confusion of these biofuels politics into more comprehensible patterns of claim-making and responses. !  !  111!  Chapter(4(–(Episodes(&(streams(  4.5 CONCLUSIONS: CLARIFYING MUDDIED STREAMS Biofuels are an issue that provides new political opportunities and threats to actors and claimants with a range of long-standing grievances. Analyzing biofuels contestation not as a single social movement but rather as the confluence of multiple movements with distinct histories and claims provides insight into the rapidly changing discourses and alliances associated with contestation over alternative energy technologies. The implications for contentious politics and for the future of challenges to dominant systems (what we might think of as the future of social movements) are broad, and will be explored by looking through the episode-based lens at the changes in activism and contention over biofuels, from early optimism to current uncertainty. The three episodes do not capture all the complexities and positions, but do indicate the main public catch-phrases associated with public awareness of the growing international interest in biofuel energy. Looking at each of these episodes (delineated largely in chronological terms in the recent history of contention over biofuels) through the lens of how groups from these three dominant strands of contention have shaped and react to the discourses and external pressures helps explain how and why debates over biofuels have unfolded in the way they have, and help us to understand how market forces are both a determinant of the production of biofuels and also a strategic tool in their political contestation. In the following three chapters, the analyses identify past contentious issues and how these might be reflected in current biofuels debates. They also consider economic aspects of alternative fuels and new commodities, dominant power structures and how positions around biofuels challenge or reinforce them, non-state actors, issue framing, and the ecological characteristics of thes