Nexus, resource conflict and social justice: are we speaking the same language?

Nexus network meetings are a bit like a bar scene in Star Wars, joked Professor Mike Bradshaw, from the University of Warwick: “What we need is a universal translator to make sense of the different languages and topics covered.” The nexus which, to a newcomer at least, might sound like a potent ial name for…

Africa’s land rush

There is a rush on for African farmland – a phenomenon unmatched since colonial times. Africa’s land rush, and the implications for rural livelihoods and agrarian change, is the subject of a new book that I have edited together with Ruth Hall (from PLAAS at UWC, South Africa) and Dzodzi Tsikata (ISSER, University of Ghana at Legon)….

How the Water-Energy-Food ‘Nexus’ in Asia affects real lives

By Carl Middleton, Center for Social Development Studies, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University In Asia and globally, the water-energy-food nexus has received growing attention from policy makers, researchers, and practitioners. A key premise of ‘the nexus’ is that water use is interdependent with energy and food production. Thus, from a nexus viewpoint, the relationship between…

The political economy of small-scale mining in Zimbabwe

There was much discussion about small-scale and artisanal mining at the STEPS Centre’s Resource Politics conference last month. This is where resources and politics come together; perhaps especially so in Zimbabwe. Ever since the enactment of  Zimbabwe’s Mines and Minerals Act, which gives the state rights over mineral resources wherever they are found, mining has been controversial. In the colonial period,…

Borders and resources: “Across this line, you do not…”

Borders and maps are such a defining feature of modern civilisation that we can’t live without them. At the same time, many of us are subject to the mischievous urge to test, push and redefine them. It’s no coincidence that religious language plays on this tension: sins used to be commonly referred to as ‘transgressions’…

What can China teach India about dealing with waste?

by Bharati Chaturvedi and Ashish Chaturvedi Just past the first anniversary of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, as we ruminate about the achievements of the Modi government’s much-vaunted programme, it might also be worthwhile to take a look at what our next-door competitor and inspiration China has done about waste. Especially, other people’s waste. China’s rise as…

Politics of Integrated Water Resources Management in southern Africa

For the past two decades, Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) has been the dominant paradigm in water resources. It is the flagship project of global bodies such as the Global Water Partnership (GWP). It has also been actively promoted by a range of multilateral and bilateral donors which consider it to be the path to address water governance…

Understanding soils using interdisciplinary methods

Our director Ian Scoones has applied the STEPS pathways approach to understanding soils, for a new article in Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability. 2015 has been named as the International Year of Soils by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Who writes international climate change reports?

Guest blog by Esteve Corbera (ICTA-UAB, Spain) This week in the journal Nature Climate Change, colleagues and I published an analysis of who has participated in the latest 5AR mitigation report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). We analyse North-South representation, institutional pathways, co-authorship patterns and disciplinary backgrounds, using Social Network Analysis of…

Resource politics: living in the Anthropocene

By Ian Scoones, Director of the STEPS Centre This week we are hosting a major conference at the STEPS Centre at Sussex on resource politics. There are panels looking at everything from mining to wildlife to carbon to water, with big themes cross-cutting on: Scarcity, politics and securitization; Resource grabbing; Governance, elites, citizenship and democracy;…