NFU Award Winners of 2011

NFU has awarded its prize for the BEST MASTER THESIS in development studies in 2010 to Cecilia Guadalupe Salinas. Salinas has authored a thesis in social anthropology at the University of Oslo entitled Wistful Hope – Local Responses to Neoliberal Policies: Uruguay and the Pulp Industry.

Salinas investigates everyday life in Fray Bentos, a working town in a rural area where meat packing for a long time was the core industry. The traditional meatpacking industry has been in decline, but for some time a foreign pulp mill appeared to offer new working opportunities. However, in comparison with the old “socially thick” meatpacking industry with dense employment and a huge impact on employment, the new pulp industry was “socially thin”. Salinas’ investigates everyday life in Fray Bentos and how the initial euphoria associated with renewed industrial modernity soured. Yet she also explores short-lasting glimmers of hope and collective agency in relation to a local carnival. Based on a close fieldwork and her anthropological gaze Salinas has developed an innovative approach to the contradictions of neoliberal everyday life.

The NFU Prize for the BEST ARTICLE in 2011 is selected from the year’s volume of Forum for Development Studies – with a total of 13 articles. There were a number of strong contenders, including Audun Solli’s ‘From Good Governance to Development? A Critical Perspective on the Case of Norway’s Oil for Development’ (2011/1) and Heidi Østbø Haugen’s ‘Chinese Exports to Africa: Competition, Complementarity and Cooperation between Micro-Level Actors’ (2011/2). However, the Prize Committee, consisting of the editors of Forum, has awarded the prize to Jeppe Kolding and Paul A.M. van Zwieten for the article ‘The Tragedy of Our Legacy: How Do Global Management Discourses Affect Small Scale Fisheries in the South?’ (2011/3)

The article critically analyses narratives underlying current management of fisheries, showing their historical origins and relationship to other key natural resource management narratives such as ‘the tragedy of the commons’ story. An examination of the biological properties of fish populations and of the organizational and economic aspects of artisanal fishing demonstrates the inappropriateness of such understandings for informing management regimes for fisheries. This in turn has implications for central theoretical perspectives within development studies, such as for instance common property theory.

The article thus uses a broad interdisciplinary approach to question widely-held assumptions underlying current practices and regulations, while at the same time challenging established theoretical approaches. In this sense, the article realizes the full potential of development studies. We congratulate Jeppe Kolding and Paul van Zwieten with the Prize!