Avoided transformations? Do NGOs really operate as ‘no-change’ agents in the Anthropocene?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Standard

Avoided transformations? Do NGOs really operate as ‘no-change’ agents in the Anthropocene? / Ensor, Jonathan Edward.

Transformations 2015: People and Planet in the Anthropocene . Stockholm Resilience Centre, 2015.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Harvard

Ensor, JE 2015, Avoided transformations? Do NGOs really operate as ‘no-change’ agents in the Anthropocene? in Transformations 2015: People and Planet in the Anthropocene . Stockholm Resilience Centre, Transformation 2015, Stockholm, Sweden, 5/10/15.

APA

Ensor, J. E. (2015). Avoided transformations? Do NGOs really operate as ‘no-change’ agents in the Anthropocene? In Transformations 2015: People and Planet in the Anthropocene Stockholm Resilience Centre.

Vancouver

Ensor JE. Avoided transformations? Do NGOs really operate as ‘no-change’ agents in the Anthropocene? In Transformations 2015: People and Planet in the Anthropocene . Stockholm Resilience Centre. 2015

Author

Ensor, Jonathan Edward. / Avoided transformations? Do NGOs really operate as ‘no-change’ agents in the Anthropocene?. Transformations 2015: People and Planet in the Anthropocene . Stockholm Resilience Centre, 2015.

Bibtex - Download

@inproceedings{8ccddfdcf3ab4a89b9a356b089abf5bd,
title = "Avoided transformations?: Do NGOs really operate as {\textquoteleft}no-change{\textquoteright} agents in the Anthropocene?",
abstract = "In this paper I draw on recent fieldwork in Vanuatu, Timor-Leste and Solomon Islands to analyse how NGOs circumscribe their role as change agents, in terms of how they respond to or neglect the structural barriers that underpin poverty and limit adaptive capacity. I will argue that while attention is given to social and ecological aspects of vulnerability and resilience, a limited conceptualisation of adaptation means there is a failure to translate a focus on agency into a focus on transformative potential. As such, NGOs are open to critique in terms of their ambition (i.e., transformation as beyond the imaginings of NGOs) and short project time scales (i.e. transformation as beyond the horizon of “project world” – Eade, 2010). However, other pertinent questions arise. First, to what extent is it desirable or necessary for NGOs to engage in actions designed to provoke political and social change? Results from the case studies suggest that, while transformation of wider systems may be required to shift patterns of persistent vulnerability, interventions at the local scale can have a profound impact on people{\textquoteright}s lives when structure is accounted for, laying the ground for future instances of progressive social change. Second, are there alternative strategies that NGOs could be following? In answering this, the case studies will be explored for their potential to engage in social mobilisation (Dodman and Mitlin 2011), rights-based (Ensor et al. 2015) and resourcefulness (MacKinnon and Derickson 2013) strategies to enable transformation of marginalised and poor people in exposed natural environments.",
author = "Ensor, {Jonathan Edward}",
year = "2015",
language = "English",
booktitle = "Transformations 2015: People and Planet in the Anthropocene",
publisher = "Stockholm Resilience Centre",
note = "Transformation 2015 ; Conference date: 05-10-2015 Through 07-10-2015",
url = "http://transformations2015.org",

}

RIS (suitable for import to EndNote) - Download

TY - GEN

T1 - Avoided transformations?

T2 - Transformation 2015

AU - Ensor, Jonathan Edward

PY - 2015

Y1 - 2015

N2 - In this paper I draw on recent fieldwork in Vanuatu, Timor-Leste and Solomon Islands to analyse how NGOs circumscribe their role as change agents, in terms of how they respond to or neglect the structural barriers that underpin poverty and limit adaptive capacity. I will argue that while attention is given to social and ecological aspects of vulnerability and resilience, a limited conceptualisation of adaptation means there is a failure to translate a focus on agency into a focus on transformative potential. As such, NGOs are open to critique in terms of their ambition (i.e., transformation as beyond the imaginings of NGOs) and short project time scales (i.e. transformation as beyond the horizon of “project world” – Eade, 2010). However, other pertinent questions arise. First, to what extent is it desirable or necessary for NGOs to engage in actions designed to provoke political and social change? Results from the case studies suggest that, while transformation of wider systems may be required to shift patterns of persistent vulnerability, interventions at the local scale can have a profound impact on people’s lives when structure is accounted for, laying the ground for future instances of progressive social change. Second, are there alternative strategies that NGOs could be following? In answering this, the case studies will be explored for their potential to engage in social mobilisation (Dodman and Mitlin 2011), rights-based (Ensor et al. 2015) and resourcefulness (MacKinnon and Derickson 2013) strategies to enable transformation of marginalised and poor people in exposed natural environments.

AB - In this paper I draw on recent fieldwork in Vanuatu, Timor-Leste and Solomon Islands to analyse how NGOs circumscribe their role as change agents, in terms of how they respond to or neglect the structural barriers that underpin poverty and limit adaptive capacity. I will argue that while attention is given to social and ecological aspects of vulnerability and resilience, a limited conceptualisation of adaptation means there is a failure to translate a focus on agency into a focus on transformative potential. As such, NGOs are open to critique in terms of their ambition (i.e., transformation as beyond the imaginings of NGOs) and short project time scales (i.e. transformation as beyond the horizon of “project world” – Eade, 2010). However, other pertinent questions arise. First, to what extent is it desirable or necessary for NGOs to engage in actions designed to provoke political and social change? Results from the case studies suggest that, while transformation of wider systems may be required to shift patterns of persistent vulnerability, interventions at the local scale can have a profound impact on people’s lives when structure is accounted for, laying the ground for future instances of progressive social change. Second, are there alternative strategies that NGOs could be following? In answering this, the case studies will be explored for their potential to engage in social mobilisation (Dodman and Mitlin 2011), rights-based (Ensor et al. 2015) and resourcefulness (MacKinnon and Derickson 2013) strategies to enable transformation of marginalised and poor people in exposed natural environments.

UR - http://transformations2015.org/programme.pdf

M3 - Conference contribution

BT - Transformations 2015: People and Planet in the Anthropocene

PB - Stockholm Resilience Centre

Y2 - 5 October 2015 through 7 October 2015

ER -