A-2/22 Commentary

Writers: Camilla Sandström & Katrina Rønningen

How to turn the different “ways of seeing” and “ways of knowing” into “ways of making” legitimate regulations, processes, and legal frameworks for the potential sharing of benefits and burdens of natural resources and places? Political science, geography, and anthropology are all concerned with power and its structuring effects; anthropology, however, provides a vital sensitivity toward contextual, cultural, and historical factors.

Environmental communication exercises power as a tool in processes of decolonization and struggles for self-determination, but also through the many mandatory requirements of planning and licensing processes, EIAs, participatory processes, and so on. Environmental communication may thus be used to understand power struggles and conflicts, while also itself shaping these struggles. These processes generally lack the tools to take multi-generational experiences, oral narratives, and local knowledge into consideration, while employing very narrow time perspectives. Anthropology thus provides a sorely needed approach that is crucial to mapping land use and meanings properly.

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