Tag Archives: Papua New Guinea

Bricolage practices in local forestry

Jessica de Koning and Charlotte Benneker, 2013, In: Arts, B., Behagel, J., Bommel, S. van, Koning, J. de, Turnhout, E. Forest and nature governance: a practice based approach. Dordrecht: Springer.

Academics and policy makers often analyse the role of institutions in terms of an institutional logic that assumes that designed institutions can effectively shape the (rational) behaviour of actors. In turn, this institutional approach assumes that local actors will automatically embrace new institutions and adapt their behaviour accordingly. However, research at the grassroots level reveals a different story. In this chapter, we show how the introduction of regulations and norms on local forestry triggers a chain of different, often unexpected, responses from local actors. The chapter addresses the processes by which local actors respond to externally imposed institutional arrangements in terms of a logic of practice. It uses the concept of bricolage to analyse forest use practices on the ground that result from the reshaping and combining of different institutional elements. The chapter draws on examples from the global South to show that local actors creatively construct a patchwork of institutions in which old institutions are recombined with the new and in which it becomes clear that institutions in fact do not directly influence behaviour but rather emerge in practices of bricolage directly or indirectly, consciously or unconsciously. It concludes by stating that introduced institutions do not easily steer human behaviour. A much more important determinant of behaviour is the local logic of practice of local actors. The impact of introduced institutions on local forestry therefore greatly depends on how much they relate to an existing logic of practice.

Ecotourism in Papua New Guinea

My travel to Papua New Guinea was my first real taste of fieldwork. From September 1999 to April 2000, I went with a fellow student and friend to the middle of nowhere of Papua New Guinea. We spend 7 months there, submerged in the local communities and trying to survive without running water or electricity.

In the Lakekamu Basin, we analysed a small ecotourism project that was set up as part of a ICDP. ICDP stands for Integrated Conservation and Development Project. By introducing ecotourism, the community was offered a possibility to make money while nature was to be conserved. Tourist would be attracted by the richness in biodiversity and the adventure of ‘ living in the wild’. The study looked at how the ecotourism project impacted on the local livelihoods.