July 16, 2012


Posted in Publications, Sustainability at 2:14 PM by Brian Gareau


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

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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.