The river multiple: exploring place, identity and resource politics on the Gander River, Newfoundland

Daniels, Jennifer Kathleen (2014) The river multiple: exploring place, identity and resource politics on the Gander River, Newfoundland. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Resources, identity and place are important concepts to explore for understanding questions around resource politics between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people and groups. On the Gander River, central Newfoundland, questions of how Mi’kmaw and non-Aboriginal people identify with this place and how they engage with each other and the resources therein are critical in addressing local governance and a larger set resource politics. With its focus on place and community-based and ‘ground-up’ participatory development, the place-based development model offers a great potential for communities to thoroughly engage with, and lead, in local development and governance processes. This analysis demonstrates a number of place-based development strategies in the Gander River region, which have helped a culturally diverse set of residents pursue local development and tackle common resource governance and rural development challenges. Within the geographic literature on place, it is argued that identity is highly intertwined with socio-spatial relations, and yet, in the vast majority of place-based development and natural resource geography literatures, such relations are not extended to the bio-physical landscape. Rarely do questions of materiality – conceived of as hybrid and heterogeneous relations existing in embodied forms – enter into discussions of resource governance and development. In adopting a critical, post-colonial approach to fieldwork – through open and reflexive interview techniques, participant observation and following local practices as they emerged on the river – in addition to drawing from science and technology studies literature, it became evident that the different practices on the river yield different kinds of places and resources. In constructing an account of the practices of Mi’kmaw and non-Aboriginal river users, this research demonstrates that the different practices enact ontologically distinct Atlantic salmon on the Gander River and these differences cannot be conceived in strictly rationalist or ‘common sense’ realist terms. Articulating these practices is critical in bringing these alternative places and resources into better view. Moreover, the existence of these multiple reals has deep implications on the appropriateness of typically technocratic and rationalist resource governance and development approaches.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 8105
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 162-181).
Keywords: Resources, Place, Identity, Ontological politics, Mi'kmaq, Gander River
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Geography
Date: October 2014
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Grand River Region(N.L.)
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Natural resources--Co-management--Newfoundland and Labrador--Grand River Region; Indigenous peoples--Ethnic identity; Grand River Region(N.L.)--Ethnic relations--Political aspects; Rural development--Political aspects----Newfoundland and Labrador--Grand River Region

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