Research projects 6
Legitimacy construction in the Forestry Sector in South America from the perspective of Local Communities
The aim of my research is to understand what is it exactly that defines how corporate legitimacy is created. The research engages in the following research questions: What is the role of stakeholder dialogue in the creation of corporate legitimacy? How is legitimacy upheld in the public sphere through media representations? And how can companies and locals, learn to work side-by-side before costly and damaging conflicts emerge? Legitimacy is looked at from three different perspectives: first, the organizational legitimacy or "the generalized perception or assumption that the actions are desirable within a socially constructed system of norms, values, beliefs, and definitions" (Suchman 1995:574); second, the democratic legitimacy ("consent of the governed") in terms of stakeholders giving their consent to the corporations to be present in their communities; and third, legitimacy as the outcome of a place-bound social imaginary (Taylor, 2002) and the capacity of an organization to sustain and maintain the reproduction of life (Dussel, 2013) within that particular imaginary and place.
Because of the huge species diversity of Amazonian forests, it has been difficult to obtain a general idea of their environmental and floristic variation among sites. This makes it difficult to allocate suitable land uses to areas with different productivity, to adapt the management systems to local ecological conditions, and to identify habitats of high conservation value. Understorey plants (such as pteridophytes) can be used as indicators to rapidly and at relatively low cost evaluate the ecological conditions and species composition of a given rain forest site. The present project will design a species identification tool that conveys to the users of the indicator species approach 1) the knowledge on how to identify the indicator species, and 2) the information on what kind of environment or forest each species indicates. In order to be useful for people who are not plant specialists, the identification tool will be interactive, easy to use, free of botanical jargon, richly illustrated and freely available on the internet.
United in Diversity: Monumental Landscapes, Regionality, and Cultural Dynamism in Pre-Columbian Western Amazonia
The "United in Diversity: Monumental Landscapes, Regionality, and Cultural Dynamism in Pre-Columbian Western Amazonia" (2011–2015) is a multidisciplinary project focusing on cultural dynamics of the prehistoric indigenous populations in the southwestern Amazon. The geometric earthworks connected by road systems, identified by Brazilian and Finnish researchers in the Upper Purus River Basin, have contributed to formulate a new perspective of Amazonian civilizations. The primary objectives of our project are to reconstruct the cultural, economic, ethnic, and demographic processes involved in the occurrence of the geometric earthwork tradition in the Brazilian states of Acre and Amazonas. The project is sponsored by the Academy of Finland.
POLITOUR: Policies and Practices of Tourism Industry – A Comparative and Interdisciplinary Study on Central America (Academy of Finland, 2011-2014)
This international comparative study of three Central American countries, Costa Rica, Honduras and Nicaragua, aims contributing to finding the best solutions, ideas and practices for sustainable tourism business and industry. For this purpose, the project analyzes, from an interdisciplinary perspective, the development of power relations, politics, policies and practices of Central American tourism. At the same time, the study seeks the complex inter-dependencies between public, national and international planning, global tourism, local needs, sustainable development and business interests.
The Politics of Corporate Resource Exploitation: Social Movement Influence on Paper- and Metal Industry Investments in Brazil and India
This research project analyses the influence of social movements on primary sector extractive investments. The theory how social movements influence the politics of corporate resource exploitation will be developed and tested through a comparison of empirical evidence from 30 resource exploitation projects in the forest and metal industries of Brazil and India. The research will identify the generalizable and specific mechanisms and political games by which movements transform the local-global political dynamics in areas where increasing transnationalization of resource flows has taken place. Causal process analysis combined with various methods and Qualitative Comparative Analysis of 30 cases provides a strategy for working through empirical materials collected by field research. The project belongs to the fields of social scientific environmental research and Political Science/World Politics.
Through a case study – the Yine of Peruvian Amazonia – the research aims both at generating understanding of the relationship between materiality and immateriality in contemporary indigenous Amazonian Christianities, and at providing tools for future comparative study of these Christianities.