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Marie Widengård


Marie Widengård
031-786 5274

Rumsnummer: E516b
Postadress: Box 700, 40530 Göteborg
Besöksadress: Konstepidemins väg 2 , 41314 Göteborg

Institutionen för globala studier (Mer information)
Box 700
405 30 Göteborg

Besöksadress: Konstepidemins väg 2 , 405 30 Göteborg

Om Marie Widengård

I am investigating the coupled processes of environmental-social change and continuity. My work is located in environmental social science, involving political ecology, political economy, science and technology studies, assemblage thinking, and governmentality.

My PhD work has focused on the theme of biofuels, and I have examined some of the processes, discourses, materialities, technologies, and relationships involved in the production of biofuels. I approached production as an assembling of components that are both material and expressive, and I looked at the work needed to maintain and/or dismantle biofuel resources and the implications. Main research question was how biofuels shape, and are shaped by, their constitutive components.

Biofuels have come to represent the will to mitigate climate change by replacing fossil fuels with so-called climate-friendly and renewable plant sources, and to improve rural and poor conditions in the South through biofuel crop production, farm job creation, and smallholder cash cropping. The expansion of biofuels in countries in the South largely pivoted upon ‘the will to develop’, specifically through the oil shrub Jatropha curcas L. However, these ‘wills’ have intertwined with other intentions, processes, and relations, and have created new problems, including land grabbing, food competition, displacement of local people, and deforestation. Thus for critics, biofuels produce not simply wins but also losses, and losers.

The purpose of the thesis is not to take sides in this polarised debate but to cut through the debate with an assemblage and governmentality analytics, investigating how overlapping and competing discourses, materialities, technologies, and relationships shape biofuels. Taking an ethnographic and multi-sited approach, it looks at biofuels as a project in-the-making going on in, and across, various sites, including Zambia,
sub-Saharan Africa, the European Union, and the so-called global space. It primarily uses biofuels’ novelty and ‘becomingness’ to render strange more familiar notions, to generate an analytics of how political ecologies
and political economies are becoming, and to provide deeper insights into what resources, sustainability, poverty, land, and nation-states actually are. This approach suggests that the production of biofuels is complex and ‘messy’, and that outcomes for societies and ecologies are
of an uncertain and ambiguous nature.

Keywords: biofuels, jatropha, assemblages, governmentality, political ecology, political economy, ethnography, governance, materiality, authority, territory, sovereignty, resources, poverty, sustainability, land use change, states, standards, certification, Africa, Zambia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, Brazil, EU

Previous to my PhD work, I worked four years in non-governmental organisations in sub-Saharan Africa. My university studies include law, environmental and water engineering, and rural development. My bachelor and master theses investigated the theme of participatory plant breeding and intellectual property rights of plants and genes, with field work in Nicaragua. Currently I am consulting in sustainability standard development and certification application, and scientific literature reviews.

Sidansvarig: Amie Almström|Sidan uppdaterades: 2014-03-14

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