Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Uncertain knowledge : cultures, institutions and resilience: adapting to climate change in the Tonle Sap Lake of Cambodia
Author: Mathur, Vikrom Dayal
ISNI:       0000 0004 2718 9974
Awarding Body: Oxford University
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
Availability of Full Text:
Full text unavailable from EThOS.
Please contact the current institution’s library for further details.
This thesis provides a sociological account of the relationship between scientific knowledge of the impacts of climate change and its use in the formulation of actions and policies for adaptation. Focusing on the Tonle Sap Lake, the research investigates interlinked institutional and epistemic processes by which knowledge for planning adaptation to climate change 'flows' from global sites of knowledge production to local sites of knowledge consumption in Cambodia. Transnational expert institutions act as knowledge brokers and '(re)localize' global climate change by downscaling global data to local scales, interpreting scientific data for policy use, and instructing national institutions on how to use the knowledge. The processes of localization do not merely produce impact data but in a social and semiotic sense achieve local climate change. Cambodian institutions, however, 'ignore' knowledge that is deconstructive of their institutional commitments and accompanying epistemologies. I use Cultural Theory to analyse how four different policy stories on adaptation are framed by varying nature-myths, spatial and temporal commitments and socially maintained ignorance, characteristic of different social solidarities. A complex terrain of agreements, disagreements and mutual rejections on adaptation policies, linked to control and access over fisheries resources, emerges in the national discourse. However, hierarchical perspectives achieve epistemic sovereignty and become hegemonic. I argue that resilience to climatic changes that are yet to occur and hard to characterize will be realized from the ability of institutions to switch between strategies characteristic of different social solidarities. The knowledge basis for strategy switching, however, needs to be situated and contextualized, and requires a qualitative understanding of how people currently live around the Lake, rather than be a 'downscaled' global scientific representation of climatic change. I draw upon and hope to contribute to a growing body of literature that takes anthropological insights from the study of "primitive religions" in the work of Mary Douglas and applies it to modern social-scientific problems.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available