label r shifted
Session A3
Governing Natural Resources and Developing Indigenous Settlements: A Case Study of the Tayal Settlements in Jianshih Township, Hsinchu County
洪廣冀 Kuang-Chi Hung
Department of Geography, National Taiwan University, Taiwan

If we take a survey of the natural resources policies undertaken in Taiwan during the past decade, it is not difficult to realize the following fact: namely, the state, as the major owner of natural resources in Taiwan, has already adjusted the mode based on the principle of exclusion and turned to highlight the importance of decentralization, devolution, empowerment, and other concepts that international development organizations have had advocated since the 1980s. As a result, such policies as community forestry, co-management, and traditional territories that underline the partnership between the state and natural resources dependent communities become mainstream, and an array of state agencies take responsibility for ensuring the policies abovementioned to be practiced both nationally and locally. Yet, can such a “community-based natural resource management (CBNRM)” help policymakers find a balance between sustainable use of natural resources and development of indigenous communities? Considering current debates surrounding traditional territories, wildlife conservation, dispossession and unsustainable use of indigenous people’s land, the answer to the question is not as straightforward as developmentalists might have expected. This research plans to adopt the following two approaches to understand the making and the practicing of CBNRM in Taiwan with a focus on Tayal settlements in Jianshih Township, Hsinchu County: first, this research plans to conduct a historical analysis of natural resources policies which the modern state have schemed and enforced since the Japanese colonial rule, with the goal of unveiling the processes during which the state objectified local nature as governable “natural resources,” and, meanwhile, attributed certain subjectivities to local indigenous settlements, eventually turning them into a reliable basis for natural resources management on the face of the impacts of neoliberalism. Second, based on the result of the historical analysis, this project plans to undertake an ethnographical analysis of Tnunan Smangus, widely known as a role model for CBNRM in Taiwan, in the hope of showing how people in Smangus negotiate with agencies of capital and the state in their daily lives in the hope of being recognized as a subject that represents both Smangus’s people and nature. Regarding the theoretical approach, this research distances itself from new institutional economics, an analytical tool commonly used by researchers who are concerned with CBNRM, and deploys certain concepts that gain increasing currency in environmental anthropology and political ecology alike, such as infrastructure, indigeneity, and assemblage. This research expects to bring a case that exemplifies CBNRM in Taiwan to engage in a close dialogue with natural resource politics in the Global South, while developing a post-developmentalist analysis and critique of the dilemma that has become prevalent as researchers, activists, and policymakers try to figure a balance between governing natural resources and developing indigenous communities.