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PhD Projects

Interpreting Law: The regulation of previous consultation in Brazil

This project seeks to analyze and discuss the process of regulation of previous consultation in Brazil. Being a signatory of the ILO convention 169 since 2002, various cases of violation of the right to free, prior, and informed consent as defined in the convention are internationally reported about Brazil. Against several of the main development projects of the country, especially in the Amazon, court cases are ongoing because of alleged lack of consultation of the affected populations. In 2012, the Brazilian government started the process of preparing a law draft that shall regulate the procedure of previous consultation on a federal level. Aimed at a participatory process in the beginning, the negotiations between indigenous, quilombola and traditional people, NGOs and the various entities of the federal Brazilian government came to a halt soon; attempts to resume them are ongoing. This research project is based on field work 2012-2014 and aims at an analysis of the process of interpreting an international convention into national law: negotiation strategies, discourses as well as the role of law in social conflicts are being analyzed using the regulation process as a case study. 

Cattle ranching intensification at the agricultural frontier – agricultural development between historical trajectories, transformations and politics

In Mato Grosso, cattle raising is believed to produce more cattle on reduced areas by intensification. However, recent transformations within the cattle production chain and the agents’ trajectories show that there is little space for many cattle ranchers at the agricultural frontier to fit in that image. Processes of standardization and regularization linked to global value chains enhance opportunities of some rancher, and challenge others. The stratification and the access to knowlegde show similar patterns. Does the assumed economical and environmental win-win situation reveal a social threat in the medium run?  Basing on extensive fieldwork at state and municipal level, this study provides a typology of cattle ranchers’ space for decisions, considering their histories, heterogeneities and capabilities. It aims at contributing to better grasp regional development efforts and possible outcomes of recent agricultural development strategies.



Regine Schönenberg, Korbinian Hartberger, Charlotte Schumann, José Heder Benatti, Luly da Cunha Fischer, “What Comes After Deforestation Control? Learning from Three Attempts of Land-Use Planning in Southern Amazonia”, GAIA, 02/2015-119-127

Charlotte Schumann, Korbinian Hartberger, Michael Klingler, Regine Schönenberg, “Sempre pra frente“, Editora Olhares, São Paulo (together with SP 08)

Regine Schönenberg, et al., “Methods of inter- and transdisciplinary research – a trajectory of knowledge integration”, Carbiocial Special Issue Erdkunde: (in review), with inputs of almost all SP’s;

Regine Schönenberg, et al., “Inter- and Transdisciplinary scenario construction to explore future land use options in Southern Amazônia”, Ecology and Society (accepted), together with SP 09 and SP 11