'Blowing in the Wind': Mobile Technologies, Global Environmental Agendas and the Struggle for Nature in Romania
Global warming caused by the use of fossil fuels is one of the persistent ideas -and threats – of our time. Industrial society’s main source of energy produces CO2, a greenhouse gas which massively contributes to climate change. Thus, new technologies that transform renewable resources, such as waves, rivers, wind, solar energy, and biomass, into mechanical or electrical energy are hoped to replace the fossil fuels. This research analyzes the implementation of a neoliberal green project promoted by an international corporation and the national government in a commune from Dobroudja (Southeast Romania), and its local economic and environmental side effects. More precisely, I feature the privatization of communal land and its transformation into a wind park. Villagers have been left without the pastures they used for centuries to graze the animals. Not only has the wind park affected the local economy based on animal husbandry but also has changed villagers’ relationship with their environment. The pastures were the home of numerous wild birds, highly appreciated by the locals. This research reveals the mechanisms of land dispossession for green ends, and of the commodification of nature in the name of global green agendas. The research explores the actors involved in the struggle for land and the new set of relations established across various scales, ranging from local to international, and across multiple domains: economy, environment, property rights, politics, state, and media. While many of the debates in environmental anthropology revolve around land being controlled for agricultural purposes this research seeks to understand how the implementation of a green technology built to mitigate the environmental changes shapes human economy and ecology. Moreover, it shows that a closer study of the intersection between ideology, technology and environment is crucial if we want to understand who are the losers and the winners in this new green paradigm.
I intend to use the CRASSH fellowship to prepare a larger research project in which to compare similar cases from around the world.
Stefan Dorondel is a Visiting Fellow at CRASSH, Michaelmas 2012
He is a researcher within the Francisc I. Rainer Institute of Anthropology Bucharest of the Romanian Academy of Sciences). He holds a Ph in History and Ethnology from Lucian Blaga University, Sibiu (Romania) and a PhD in Agrarian Studies at the Humboldt University Berlin (Germany). His postdoctoral experience includes work within the Agrarian Studies Program (Yale University), Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology Halle (Germany), The New Europe College, Institute for Advanced Studies Bucharest, and Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich. He is the author of Death and Water. Funerary Rituals, Water Symbolism, and the Otherworld Imaginary Among the Peasant from Southern Romania(in Romanian) Paideia, Bucureşti, 2004. He co-edited with Stelu Serban the volume Between East and West. Studies in Anthropology and Social History, Romanian Cultural Institute, Bucharest, 2005.