Framing REDD+: political ecology, actor–network theory (ANT), and the making of forest carbon markets
Geographica Helvetica, 78, 2
This paper discusses the opportunities and challenges of integrating science and technology studies (STS), especially the variant based on actor–network theory (ANT), into fields of human geography with a critical research tradition. Drawing on the experiences of political ecology and empirical research on carbon markets, it uses the example of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) to show how the turn towards such STS impacts has changed the “framing” of REDD+: from analysing REDD+ as an example of the “neoliberalization of nature” and a focus on the impacts on human forest users to detailed accounts of infrastructures and practices of making markets. Discussing the consequences of these observations and different proposals brought forward to combine ANT with political ecology, the paper argues for a conscious and reflective use of ANT-inspired STS approaches to benefit from the additional insights this approach allows while keeping the critical potential of geography alive.