The University of Arizona

Can the subaltern protect forests? REDD+ compliance, depoliticization and Indigenous subjectivities

Franziska Müller


REDD+ regimes are accompanied by capacity-building and educational practices, which play an important role in REDD+ governance. These practices address subaltern local and indigenous actors, seek their compliance and thereby contribute to the stabilization of otherwise all-too-fragile global carbon governance systems. In this article I analyze the governing effects of such practices by drawing on Robert Fletcher's concept of "multiple environmentalities" and Tania Murray Li's "analytic of assemblage." Empirically I focus on educational materials that have been designed for REDD+ projects in cooperation with one of the world's largest REDD+ funds, Norway's International Climate and Forest Initiative. I identify several strategies that aim at aligning diverse actors, seek to de- or re-politicize REDD+ concepts, authorize knowledge, and, most significantly, address local actors as responsible ecological stewards, who contribute to stabilizing REDD+ regimes on the ground. In total, these strategies promote programmatic subjectivities among indigenous 'stakeholders' and contribute to a new, 'glocal' understanding of nature-society relations.

Keywords: global environmental governance, REDD+, governmentality, environmentality, capacity-building

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