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Worlds Apart: A Social Theoretical Exploration of Local Networks, Natural Actors, and Practitioners of Rural Development in Southern Honduras

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  • Brian J. Gareau

    () (Department of Sociology, Boston College, 140 Commonwealth Ave, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467, USA)

Abstract

This paper explores the importance of incorporating the socioecological realities of alternative networks into analyses of rural development. Cultural theory is examined, which provides a base upon which rural development can identify difference in worldviews based on difference in sociological conditions and environmental phenomena. Actor-oriented theory problematizes the ideal types of cultural theory, providing a means of give-and-take between actors’ worldviews of different networks. Actor-network theory breaks down the nature-culture dichotomy of actor-oriented theory, so that nature becomes as ‘active’ an actor as people and community. Actor-network theory brings nature and society together, perceiving the two as mutually inclusive and constitutive. Coupled with recognition of power associated with political economic/ecological forces, actor-network theory can encourage us to see the frequency of tropical storms in Honduras as being among the powerful actors that have played a significant, consistent role in shaping the mode of ordering of impoverished Honduran peoples. This paper concludes by exploring how alternative, agroecological networks established in a protected area in southern Honduras with ‘strong’ natural actors can be re-ordered by incorporating autonomy and resiliency into the network.

Suggested Citation

  • Brian J. Gareau, 2012. "Worlds Apart: A Social Theoretical Exploration of Local Networks, Natural Actors, and Practitioners of Rural Development in Southern Honduras," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(7), pages 1-23, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:4:y:2012:i:7:p:1596-1618:d:18890
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gareau, Brian, 2008. "Class Consciousness or Natural Consciousness? Socionatural Relations and the Potential for Social Change: Suggestions from Development in Southern Honduras," Center for Global, International and Regional Studies, Working Paper Series qt17r8b34r, Center for Global, International and Regional Studies, UC Santa Cruz.
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    Cited by:

    1. Beck, Erin, 2016. "Repopulating Development: An Agent-Based Approach to Studying Development Interventions," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 19-32.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    actor-network; agroecology; alternative development; culture; ethnography; Honduras; political ecology; protected area;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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