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Framing Futures: Temporal frames of reference in land conversions

TRR 228 Future Rural Africa - Projekt C05

Researcher: Prof. Dr. Thomas Widlok, Christa van der Wulp, Joachim Knab

Current processes of land conversion and land conflict in Africa are characterized by translocal coalitions between local, national and international agents. These coalitions exist on both sides of the intensification-conservation divide and illustrate the cross-scalar linkages perspective of the CRC cluster C to which this project contributes.

The particular contribution of this project is to investigate how different agents who are linked across scales achieve sufficient overlap in their visions of the future in what can be called a process of intercalibrating relevant time regimes. The central research questions are: 

  1. To what extent are temporal frames of reference made compatible with one another through processes of standardization, and to what extent do they clash and remain incompatible – and what are the consequences for cooperation in land use?
  2. To what extent is the assumption that futures are (man-)made and are to be controlled in eurocentric bias that collides with other practices of dealing with the future that are premised on accepting the future or on adapting to it?

To answer these questions, we will conduct field research in and around the Kavango-Zambezi conservation area (Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Angola) where we will trace relevant temporal frames in cultural practices, material gadgets and in routines of people involved in land conversions.