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Recent Key Publications

We regularly publish our latest research results in renowned international scientific journals, edited books and monographs. This list contains only the most recent publications. For more publications, please use the links on the right.


MDG 1: Armutsreduktion als „virtuelle Realität“. Zum Spannungsfeld globaler Entwicklungsinitiativen und deren lokaler Umsetzung
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U. Geiser & B. Steimann | Geographische Rundschau | 2012
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Die globalen Debatten um das Millennium-Entwicklungsziel 1 (MDG 1) erreichen in vielen Ländern des globalen Südens in erster Linie die zuständigen Planungsämter der nationalen Verwaltung sowie gewisse, den Umgang mit globalen Organisationen gewohnte Vertreter der Zivilgesellschaft. Sie haben aber kaum Auswirkungen über die Hauptstädte hinaus.

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go to Zurich Open Repository and Archive (ZORA)

 



Land grabbing, investment principles and plural legal orders of land use
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M. Locher, B. Steimann & B. R. Upreti | Journal of Legal Pluralism | 2012
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In response to growing concerns about detrimental impacts of foreign direct investment in land in developing countries (‘land grabbing’), multilateral organizations have come forward with two proposals to protect people's rights and make such investments more responsible. Referring to empirical evidence from Tanzania, Nepal, and Kyrgyzstan, the article challenges the two proposals from a legal pluralism perspective, by showing that they do not adequately consider the existence of plural legal orders over land and the dynamics of power and everyday practices inherent in property relations.

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Experiencing space-time: the stretched lifeworlds of migrant workers in India
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B. Rogaly & S. Thieme | Environment and Planning A | 2012
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In the relatively rare instances when the spatialities of temporary migrant work, workers’ journeys, and labour-market negotiations have been the subject of scholarly attention, there has been little work that integrates time into the analysis. Building on a case study of low-paid and insecure migrant manual workers in the context of rapid economic growth in India, we examine both material and subjective dimensions of these workers’ spatiotemporal experiences. (...).

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Die Bedeutung imaginativer Geographien im Kampf um "Gorkhaland"
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M. Bishokarma | Peripherie | 2012
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Das Ziel dieses Beitrags ist es zu zeigen, dass bei Bewegungen für neue Staaten in Indien regionalistische Aspekte eine ebenso wichtige Rolle spielen wie vorgestellte Identitäten und ethnische Konstrukte. Dabei wird die These aufgestellt, dass besonders die Konstruktion von imaginativen Geographien in Form von strategischen Raumbildern eine wesentliche Strategie zur Legitimierung und Mobilisierung darstellt. So formulieren die Akteure ihre Forderungen bewusst mit Referenzen zu raumbezogenen Daten wie Geschichte, Bevölkerungszahlen oder Migrationsbewegungen.

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In the Eye of the Storm: Sri Lanka's Front-Line Civil Servants in Transition
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B. Klem | Development and Change | 2012
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This article narrates how bureaucrats in eastern Sri Lanka operated during and after the war. They managed to keep minimal state services running whilst being locked between the government and the insurgent Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). When the government defeated the LTTE in 2009, civil servants were freed from rebel coercion, but they also lost their counterweight against unappreciated policies from the capital and interference by local politicians. (...).

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Decentralization to the household: expansion and limits of state power in rural Oromiya
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R. Emmenegger, S. Keno & T. Hagmann | Journal of Eastern African Studies | 2012
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This article sheds light on the impacts and dynamics of the latest decentralization phase in Ethiopia, which seeks to professionalize and democratize local government. Based on recent field research in Oromiya Region, we draw attention to the paradoxes inherent in the top-down decentralization of public administration within an authoritarian one-party state. This article emphasizes on the one hand the ways decentralization facilitates the expansion of service delivery into rural hinterlands and on the other hand the ways state authority remains limited.

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Conflicting strategies for contested resources: Pastoralists’ responses to uncertainty in postsocialist rural Kyrgyzstan
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B. Steimann | Chapter in "Pastoral practices in High Asia" | 2012
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Based on a case study in rural Kyrgyzstan, this chapter explores the multiple constraints which shape agro-pastoral practices today and how local households respond to them. To do so, it distinguishes between different forms of uncertainty, that is, social and political, livelihoods, knowledge and ecological uncertainties. Results show that Kyrgyz agro-pastoralists must respond to much more than ecological uncertainties only, and that the extent of these uncertainties differs a lot between the rich and the poor. (...).

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Reading political contestation in Pakistan's Swat valley - From deliberation to 'the political' and beyond
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U. Geiser | Geoforum | 2012
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The state, development donors and Taliban attempted to effect social change in Pakistan's Swat valley. To understand these dynamics, the article compares the explanatory power of deliberative and radical theorising. Both approaches fail to provide analytical, procedural or normative insights due to their eurocentric ontologies. The article advocates for a change of focus from ontologised explanation to an analysis of the actual 'how of politics'. This focus on 'politics as practice' provides differentiated insights into Swat, being a postcolonial arena.

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Enhancing herders' livelihood and conserving the snow leopard in Nepal
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G. S. Gurung, K. Thapa, K. Kunkel, G. J. Thapa, M. Kollmair and U. Müller-Böker | Cat News | 2011
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Loss of livestock to snow leopards is one of the primary concerns of subsistence herders’ communities and one of the primary threats to conservation of this endangered species throughout the alpine regions of the central Asia. Unless the relationship between snow leopards and humans is better understood and appropriate strategies are applied, coexistence may not be sustainable. To address this issue, WWF Nepal piloted a community-managed livestock insurance scheme in Kangchenjunga Conservation Area simultaneously with various types of mitigation measures.

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Pastoralism and Farming in Central Asia's Mountains: A Research Review
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C. Kerven, B. Steimann, L. Ashley, C. Dear, I. ur Rahim | University of Central Asia | 2011
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This paper reviews and discusses the distinctive characteristics of mountain agro-pastoralism in Central Asia. Opening with a discussion of past and present research directions on this topic, the paper proceeds to outline the background to farming and raising livestock in the mountains. We then summarize key findings which are relevant to understanding where, how and why people practice agro-pastoralism in the mountains of Kaza- khstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

download the background paper from the UCA website

 



Migration in Far West Nepal: Challenging Migration Categories and Theoretical Lenses
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E. Poertner, M. Junginger, U. Müller-Böker | Critical Asian Studies | 2011
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In this reply to Ronald Skeldon’s comment on their article, “Migration in Far West Nepal” (see below), the authors stress the need to overcome the categorical dichotomy between “international” and “internal” migration by thoroughly considering the conditions and characteristics different types of cross-border regimes encompass for migrants. Moreover, they call for a reconciliation of different – competing – theoretical perspectives on migration.

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Comment on Sonja Dänzer: Structural Injustice in Global Production Networks: Shared Responsibility for Working Conditions
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M. Starmanns | Analyse & Kritik | 2011
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This commentary's claim is that Dänzer's argument does not sufficiently take into account the complexities of the global production of goods, the current corporate responsibility practices and the problems of attributing responsibility to single actors. I argue in favour of a shared responsibility and briefly present a discursive approach for attributing MNE's share of responsibility in global supply chains, which requires obligatory transparency.

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Islam, Politics and Violence in Eastern Sri Lanka
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B. Klem | The Journal of Asian Studies | 2011
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This article bridges Sri Lankan studies and the academic debate on the relation between contemporary Islam and politics. It constitutes a case study of the Muslim community in Akkaraipattu on Sri Lanka’s war-ridden east coast. Over two decades of ethnically colored conflict have made Muslim identity of paramount importance, but the meanings attached to that identity vary substantively.

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Umstrittener Reichtum. Unsicherheit und Ungleichheit in Kirgistans Weidewirtschaft
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B. Steimann | Geographische Rundschau | 2011
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Pasture use in rural Kyrgyzstan is related to various forms of uncertainty, and has become strongly governed by socioeconomic disparities among local pastoralists. In addition, pasture resources have become under increased pressure from mining companies digging for gold and other precoius metals.

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Migration in Far West Nepal: Intergenerational linkages between internal and international migration of rural-to-urban migrants
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E. Poertner, M. Junginger, U. Müller-Böker | Critical Asian Studies | 2011
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Scholarly debates about migration in Nepal have gradually shifted from an economic to a more holistic perspective, also incorporating social dimensions. However, little evidence has been generated about internal migration to urban destinations and the potential linkages between international and internal migration. This article draws on Bourdieu’s ‚Theory of Practice’ and sees migration as a social practice.

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Conflict and peacebuilding in Sri Lanka. Caught in the peace trap?
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J. Goodhand, B. Korf, J. Spencer (eds.) | Routledge Contemporary South Asia Series | 2010
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journal   This edited book brings together a unique range of perspectives on the problematic and ultimately unsuccessful peace process in Sri Lanka. The contributions are written by leading Sri Lankan and international researchers and practitioners. The framework of ‘liberal peacebuilding’ provides an analytical starting point for exploring the complex and unpredictable interactions between international and domestic players during the war-peace-war period.

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Tourism amidst armed conflict: consequences, coping, and creativity for peace-building through tourism in Nepal
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P. Upadhayaya, U. Müller-Böker, S.R. Sharma | Tourism and Peace Research | 2011
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journal   Tourism is sensitive to conflict and responsive to peace. Nonetheless, it has to cope with peacelessness caused by violent conflict and its induced adverse factors. This paper analyzes the impact of a decade long (1996-2006) armed conflict on tourism in Nepal and explores the coping strategies applied by this sector to revive and sustain itself.

download the article from the publisher's website
 



Soziale und politische Herausforderungen der Hochwasserkatastrophe in Pakistan [in German]
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U. Geiser | Geographische Rundschau | 2010
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Die Auswirkungen der Überschwemmungen in Pakistan vom August 2010 wurden durch anthropogene Einflüsse verstärkt. Dazu gehören das Unvermögen der staatli-chen Verwaltung, Nothilfe zu leisten sowie der oft kritische Betrieb und Unterhalt der Bewässerungsinfra-struktur in der Indusebene. Viele Pakistanis sehen die Ursachen in einer zentralistischen Organisation der staatlichen Verwaltung, welche die lokale Ebene kaum erreicht...

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Wohin ist zurück? [in German]
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S. Thieme | Zeitschrift für Bevölkerungswissenschaft | 2010
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journal   Der Artikel beschreibt die zunehmend multilokalen Lebensweisen der Bevölkerung Kirgistans und die ausbleibende bzw. verzögerte Rückkehr der MigrantIn-nen in ihre ländliche Herkunftsregion. Die ausbleibende Rückkehr hat bisher unerforschte Folgen für die Ent-wicklung ländlicher Gebiete. Besonders relevant sind der sich verschärfende Mangel an Arbeitskräften, die Abhängigkeit der ländlichen Bevölkerung von Rimessen und sich verändernde Familienstrukturen.

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Protection for sale? War and transformation of regulation on the Congo-Ugandan border
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T. Raeymaekers | Development and Change | 2010
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journal   This article proposes an explanation for the emergence of non-state governance in situations of apparent state collapse, based on an ethnographic study of the armed rebellion in Butembo (eastern Democratic Republic of Congo). The model of explanation is inspired by Charles Tilly’s description of state making as organized crime, in which armed rebels and private economic agents enter an agreement for private protection.

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Coping on women's back: social capital-vulnerability links through a gender lens
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S. Thieme, K.A. Siegmann | Current Sociology | 2010
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journal   This article aims to conceptualize the gendered interface between social capital and vulnerability. It emphasizes Pierre Bourdieu’s notion of social capital embedded in his Theory of Practice as a fruitful analytical device for this intersection. The authors’ conceptual thoughts are based on a review of the literature on the role of migration-related social networks from mainly diverse Asian contexts and empirical fieldwork in South and Central Asia.

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Negotiating statehood: dynamics of power and domination in Africa
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T. Hagmann, D. Péclard | Development and Change | 2010
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journal   This article, which forms the introduction to a collection of studies, focuses on processes of state construction and deconstruction in contemporary Africa. Its objective is to better understand how local, national and transnational actors forge and remake the state through processes of negotiation, contestation and bricolage.



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Migration and animal husbandry: Competing or complementary livelihood strategies. Evidence from Kyrgyzstan
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N. Schoch, B. Steimann, S. Thieme | Natural Resources Forum | 2010
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journal   Animal husbandry and labour migration are important livelihood strategies for a large proportion of the rural population in developing countries. Up to now, the two strategies have usually been studied by looking at either one or the other; their interlinkages have rarely been examined. Based on a case study in rural Kyrgyzstan, the aim of this paper is to explore the links between animal husbandry and labour migration.

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'Corporate Responsibility' in der Modeindustrie. Soziale und ökologische Standards für einen fairen Handel [in German]
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M. Starmanns | Geografische Rundschau | 2010
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journal   Unter dem Schlagwort 'Corporate Responsibility' verlangen Marken- und Handelsunternehmen von ihren Produzenten in Niedriglohnländern die Einhaltung sozialer und ökologischer Standards. Derartige Auflagen sind jedoch umstritten. Grund für die Skepsis sind zum Teil enorme Unterschiede zwischen den Standards und bei deren Umsetzung. Der Beitrag zeigt, wie Standards differenziert werden können und wo die Grenzen privater Regulierung liegen.

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updated 01/21/2013 webmaster

  More Publications


More publications by the Human Geography Division, University of Zurich

• articles and book sections
• books and reports

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'The other silkroad' A documentary film on migration from Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia (NCCR N-S / Panos 2008)

nccr watch the movie online


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In his blog Follow Ethical Fashion, Mark Starmanns sheds a critical look at clothing production networks & corporate responsibility, ethical trade, and fair trade.

nccr Follow Ethical Fashion

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