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Title:Taming the tiger: the political ecology of prawn production in Tanzania
Author(s):Beymer-Farris, Betsy A.
Director of Research:Bassett, Thomas J.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Bassett, Thomas J.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Bryson, Ian; Chhatre, Ashwini; Dill, Brian J.; Winter-Nelson, Alex E.
Department / Program:Geography
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Political Ecology
Social-Ecological Resilience
Environmental History
Coastal Resources
East Africa
Abstract:This dissertation explores the social-ecological dynamics and consequences of global shifts in the prawn farming industry from Southeast Asia to East Africa. The main contribution of my dissertation research is its integration of ecological theory with social theory through a political ecology approach. This is a major challenge in the field of political ecology, as ecology often takes backstage to social-political dynamics. My engagement with the analytical approach of social-ecological resilience provides a more nuanced understanding of the ecological structure and function of socio-ecological systems. Seemingly “apolitical” resilience approaches, however, fall short in contributing to an understanding of the political economy of natural resource access, use, and management. This dissertation advances the social dimensions of resilience thinking by considering whose needs are being met from the ecosystem goods and services that social-ecological systems provide and the politics of their distribution. I demonstrate how power relations and ecological conditions (not simply environmental regulations) structure agro-food systems and produce unequal outcomes that are often highly contested from the perspectives of competing resource users. Through a social-ecological lens, this dissertation also contributes to the agri-food studies literature by showing how “sustainable” regulations and certifications for industrial prawn farming in Tanzania obscure and enable, rather than prohibit, unsustainable production practices. This dissertation provides a more robust understanding of the geographies of economic globalization by examining the shifting sites of food production at the intersection of ecological and social processes. It illuminates how actors (both human and non-human) in the global North and South influence where prawn capital goes, why there, and not elsewhere.
Issue Date:2011-08-26
Rights Information:Copyright 2011 Betsy A. Beymer-Farris
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-08-27
Date Deposited:2011-08

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