Green capitalist economies through a focus on labour: enclosures, exploitation and class conflict in Senegal

Hiraldo, Rocio (2017) Green capitalist economies through a focus on labour: enclosures, exploitation and class conflict in Senegal. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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The recent promotion of monetary incentives for preserving the environment is being
interpreted as a means of advancing capitalist interests. Until present most research on
this topic has concentrated on the strategies used by conservation organisations, private
companies and development institutions, while little is known about how people
working to make a living (hereafter “workers”) are experiencing the development of
green economies. This thesis seeks to fill this gap. It studies how the conditions of
workers’ labour are being shaped by the social relations of production enabling the
development of nature-based tourism and forestry-related payment for ecosystem
service (PES) projects in a group of villages in the Sine-Saloum delta, Senegal.
Based on a six-month period of primarily qualitative fieldwork research and drawing
conceptually on Marx’s critique of political economy, it explores three ways in which
the social relations of capitalist production in this green economy have shaped labour
conditions: a) the privatisation of 1800 hectares of mangrove forest through the creation
of a tourism-oriented protected area; b) the activity of work in nature-based tourism and
forestry-related PES projects; and c) workers’ mobilisations against exploitation and
The thesis shows how, through expropriation, exploitation and class conflict, the green
economy benefits capitalist owners while separating workers from the ownership of
their labour. Forest privatisation belongs to a broader process of primitive accumulation
where workers enable capital accumulation through their adaptations to capital.
Production in the green economy is based on social relations that perpetuate poverty,
inequality and neo-colonial relations in neoliberal Senegal. The different contribution of
nature-based tourism and PES projects to capital accumulation and the importance of
class conflict, workers’ disagreement and hope in this case study emphasise the
heterogeneity and unpredictability of green economies. Socially-committed researchers
will benefit from integrating labour and the relations of production in their analyses.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Global Development (formerly School of International Development)
Depositing User: Users 4971 not found.
Date Deposited: 11 Jul 2017 15:05
Last Modified: 11 Jul 2017 15:05


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