Interface Blog

Return engagement: Extractives in the Amazon

Peter Bille Larsen

How do we maintain conversations with our interlocutors over time? Is engagement possible at a distance without losing touch with ethnographic insights? How do we engage on sustainability challenges in the long-term? The questions are as relevant as ever in the COVID context.

Part of my research deals with profound social and environmental changes taking place in the Amazon and elsewhere. Over the years this has led to both academic and non-academic pulications on topics such as extractive industries, indigenous rights and nature conservation in the Peruvian Amazon. I have also sought to connect field experiences with global policy processes. Approached last year by colleagues working on a publication about the Oxapampa-Ashaninka-Yanesha Biosphere Reserve, the question was how to contribute at a distance without immediate ethnographic access. With NGO colleagues César Laura, Alex Böttger and Arlen Gaspar who continue working in the area we developed a collaborative writing project about the changing practices and conditions of extractive industry actors in the biosphere reserve. As a form of "return engagement" ideas and questions were pooled to trigger a collective reflection, joint documentation and analysis. The chapter now forms part of larger Open Access volume edited by Gabriela Albarracin Lluncor and Christian Vogl commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Biosphere reserve. Have a look:

Peter Bille Larsen, Universities of Geneva and Zürich


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