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Resilience at the periphery: insurgency, agency and social-ecological change under armed conflict

Ingalls, Micah L. and Mansfield, David (2017) Resilience at the periphery: insurgency, agency and social-ecological change under armed conflict. Geoforum, 84. pp. 126-137. ISSN 0016-7185

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2017.06.012


Armed conflict has played an increasingly important role in the transformation of key social and environmental systems at multiple spatial and temporal scales. Accelerated resource flows and environmental change dynamics intersect with conflict processes in ways that are substantial and yet inadequately understood. Drawing on research along the Pakistani border in eastern Afghanistan’s embattled province of Nangarhar, we employ a coupled systems approach for understanding the ways in which social-ecological processes shape and are shaped by armed conflict. Based on field surveys, geospatial analysis of land and forest change, and participatory research among local communities, government agencies and military actors, we identify several causal processes linking conflict and dynamics of social-ecological change in the context of multiscalar geopolitical processes. We focus attention on four inter-related elements: (1) transitional modes of resource governance relating to armed militia groups and state intervention, (2) forest changes related to illegal logging and trade networks, (3) the erosion of upper-montane rangelands through encroachment and changing pastoral responses to conflict, and (4) significant land use changes in the agricultural sector toward the cultivation of opium poppy. Our research highlights the importance of center-periphery relations, the problematic nature of local agency, and the ways in which local social-ecological elements—here, particularly, timber and opium—become political objects within competing narratives of (in)security and ongoing state formation.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2017 Elsevier Ltd.
Divisions: IGA: United States Centre
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2017 15:15
Last Modified: 26 Feb 2024 23:24

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