Reflecting on the intersections between water flows and people flows: fieldwork report from Irene Leonardelli in India

At the moment I am doing my secondment at SOPPECOM, an NGO based in Pune (India). SOPPECOM is committed to support the most disadvantaged and marginalized sections of the population – especially women, dalits, landless in the rural area of Maharashtra- promoting practices of sustainable use of land and water resources, collaborating with grassroots groups and conducting research and advocacy work. I am learning a lot from their work and their experiences, especially from their action research programmes. At the same time, they are helping me developing my PhD research and collecting preliminary data.
A woman farmer showing the marigolds she cultivates in open fields, in her village close to Pune. Photo: Irene Leonardelli

With my research I focus on floricultures to disentangle processes of agrarian restructuring and water re-allocation provoked by the intensification of agriculture in Maharashtra, from a feminist critical perspective. Currently, I am trying to map the floricultural landscape of Maharashtra, learning about farming practices and water sources and uses, the history of this business and the values and symbols attached to flowers.

Gerberas cultivated in poly houses in Pune. Photo: Irene Leonardelli

I am reflecting on the intersections between water flows and people flows, about gendered labour relations and consumption patterns, about all the different stories and voices that compose this reality… how to make sense and co-narrate all of this, in a self-reflective, non-extractive way? Many threads tangling in my mind: it is challenging but also very fascinating and inspiring…

* Irene Leonardelli‘s research topic is Virtual water flows: re-articulating gendered structures of accumulation along emerging agro-food commodity chains in Maharashtra, India.

Diverse Economies & Arts based Methods Workshop from 8-10 July in Wageningen

Wilding at a farm in Wageningen

A group of fellow thinkers and travellers will be getting together fro 8-10 July for a workshop in Wageningen. They will be discussing their work as it relates to diverse economies and arts-based methods. Among them will be WEGO members Chizu Sato, Wendy Harcourt and Nanako Nakamura. The workshop will be held at the Centre for Space, Place and Society in Wageningen from 8 -10 July.

Wendy introducing the exhibition

The workshop will close with a public art exhibition on  Other (food) + (art) economies are possible! where the group will share some of their individual and collective work in a convivial space with food and drinks and with time for chats with the wider public.

WEGO lead panel discussion at European Conference on Politics and Gender (ECPG)

WEGO was out in force at the European Conference on Politics and Gender which ran from 3 – 6 July in Amsterdam.

Wendy Harcourt, Gulay Caglar, Chizu Sato, Constance Dupuis and Marlene Gómez were involved in several panel discussions at the Conference Below are abstracts from some of those panels.

Care and the Commons in Troubling times: confronting whiteness

Led by Constance Dupuis and Wendy Harcourt

Our paper looks at the everyday practice of feminist political ecology as not only practices rooted in one geographical place and culture but also as collective processes that are forming a global community network. We explore how feminist political ecology (FPE) aims to navigate racist structures, gender and class inequalities that determine struggles over rights and resources. Inspired by Donna Haraway’s staying with the trouble, our paper looks at how we confront whiteness in feminist political ecology. We address the ways in which white privilege and colonialism continue to be reproduced and how FPE can engage in critical conversations without centring the white experience.

Analyzing the Politics of the Everyday: A Feminist Political Ecology Perspective

There is ample evidence that neoliberal restructuring has led to precarious living conditions as well as to environmental degradation, both of which negatively affect community well-being worldwide. In response, many alternative initiatives have mushroomed at community level that aim to counter neoliberal policies through changing everyday practices of care and natural resource management. Feminist Political Ecology (FPE) is an approach that analyses these practices by taking into account power relations within different systems of oppression at different scales. With an emphasis on the importance of embodiment, place and scale, FPE aims to unveil the processes through which different actors interact, and the strategies and political mechanisms that community initiatives use to challenge the existing power relations based on exploitation, domination, and conflict. This panel seeks to introduce the theoretical tenets of FPE and to show how FPE contributes to feminist political science. Papers will be analyzing different social movements and initiatives around issues of social and environmental justice, natural resource management and care.

WEGO workshop on Feminist Political Ecology and Environmental Justice

Siti Maimunah and Alice Owen organised a workshop to introduce the theoretical and methodological practices of Feminist Political Ecology to Environmental Justice research. This workshop was organised as part of the Environmental Justice Conference 2019: Transformative Connections.

Photos by Siti Maimuna and Alice Owen

As well as pursuing transformations towards sustainability and environmental justice, FPE researchers are also pursing transformations of the ethics, methods, epistemologies and practices of research.

Photos by Siti Maimuna and Alice Owen

In this workshop participants were invited to join members and associates of the WEGO network to explore the key insights and perspectives that have come from the practices of doing FPE research. FPE researchers were invited to prepare short responses to questions which formed the basis of a facilitated discussion exploring key themes such as scholar-activism, ethics, scales and methods in relation to their work with struggles for environmental justice. The discussion then broke off into a ‘world cafe’ where all participants  joined conversations exploring key themes and shared their own research experiences. The workshop was recorded with the intention that it can become a learning resource.

Conference Outputs

We have been working hard to update our Global Environmental Justice group website with some conference outputs, so please take a look.
You can view and download the graphic records at this UEA Global
Environmental Justice flickr page.
You can view the conference videos at the Environmental Justice
Conference 2019 playlist on YouTube. We are still in the process of
editing some of the sessions, they will be added to this list as they
are completed.
Some people had asked if the conference presentations would be available
on the website. We have considered this and decided it won’t be
possible. We would encourage delegates to contact specific presenters
directly and request that presentations be shared that way. You can find
contact email addresses for all presenters in the Abstract Book.

Background paper and follow up papers

The conference background paper remains on the conference website and
please let us know if you have any particular feedback that you didn’t
have a chance to share.
At the moment we have not planned any special issue publications but do
feel free to pursue any ideas yourselves and let us know if we can
assist.

European Conference on Politics and Gender starts in Amsterdam

The European Conference on Politics and Gender (ECPG) has started  in Amsterdam. The event is hosted by The Amsterdam Research Centre for Gender and Sexuality (ARC-GS) and runs until Saturday 6 July.

WEGO members Wendy Harcourt, Gulay Caglar, Chizu Sato, Constance Dupuis and Marlene Gómez are participating in the conference.