New Angle: Nepal journal of social science and public policy

Political Transition and Natural Resource Governance in Nepal

We are seeking papers for a special issue in the journal, New Angle: Nepal journal of social science and public policythat address the challenges of political transition for natural resource governance. We imagine these papers to be in the form of critical discussion papers, rather than fully developed academic journal articles.

The political changes presently occurring in Nepal have been a moment of both opportunity and risk for the governance of natural resources. On the one hand, the end of the war eight years ago means that people are again able to move more freely and access new markets for a variety of natural resource products. In many places people are reclaiming their rights over resources that had been at least partially curtailed during the war and thinking creatively about how they can improve their livelihoods by accessing markets for agricultural and forest products, medicinal herbs and other natural resources. On the other hand, the lack of accountability and leadership within different levels of government and community governance means that cases of corruption (i.e. forestry) and inaction (i.e. water projects) abound.

Natural resource governance provides an excellent lens into the workings of the state by illuminating the actors, mechanisms and institutions through which politics lands on the ground, across the territory of the state. National laws are filtered through multi-level institutions and serve to define how resources can be used on an everyday basis by ordinary people. At the same time, control over resources, at local, District and national levels offers significant opportunities to claim leadership and authority. In other words, the ability to control resource governance schemes is a key arena where different actors struggle for authority in the absence of elected officials. At the same time, control over resources is a key indicator of who has authority at different levels in a context where that may not be very clear.

We seek papers that provide new empirical material on the dynamics of governance in Nepal across a range of resources and scales. We welcome papers that have in-depth data, whether quantitative or qualitative, on how resource governance is playing out in relation to political transition. We encourage subtle analyses that avoid characterizing the situation as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, but which rather probe the continuities with the past, as well as transformations that are occurring in the present moment.

Potential themes can include:

  • Struggles over leadership and accountability. These could include positive examples of people creating their own accountability mechanisms, or more negative examples of a vacuum leadership or lack of accountability by leaders to ordinary people.
  • Ethnographies of user-groups and how key political transition issues are being brought into (or kept out of) collective resource governance. Political transition issues might include: gender, caste, ethnicity equity demands; claims to leadership and the basis upon which these are made; attempts at accessing new markets or responding to changing biophysical conditions.
  • Cases of resource governance, projects or corruption that help to reflect the contradictions of the current transitional moment.
  • In-depth analysis of policy changes and how those processes are influencing resource governance at different levels. For example, Local Adaptation Plan of Action policies, the new Forestry Sector Strategic Plan, the Melamchi Water Project, the National Water Plan, among other policies.

You are also welcome to propose topics that do not fit neatly into these themes.

Deadline of article submission: September 3 2017

General guidelines

What kind of articles do we encourage?

The editors seek to include articles which are based upon concrete data collection, preferably field based. However, rigorous analysis of secondary/historical sources will also be appropriate. On the other hand, the journal will avoid entirely speculative or theoretical articles. Instead we would like to encourage articles which record the results of completed investigations (published in full form elsewhere), or detail hypotheses and raise questions emerging from on-going work.

The journal will not encourage full length research papers, for which there are more appropriate outlets. It is anticipated that instead, New Angle will encompass the intermediate ground between journalism and academic field work, and in doing so, will stimulate public debate through disseminating research findings in an easily accessible format.

Format of submission:

Articles must subscribe to the following format:

  • Articles should be roughly 5000-7000 words.
  • All articles should include an abstract of 250-300 words
  • Referencing should be in the Harvard style.
  • Spelling should be in UK English.
  • Articles should be in an MS Word compatible format, with a font size of 12, and 1.5 line spacing.
  • Short quotations should use single quotation marks, while longer quotes should be indented.
  • Photos can be included, but should be no more than 4×6 inches, and will be published in black and white.

Send your articles to sias-info@sias-southasia.org; deadline of submission: Sep 3 2017

Call for Papers V