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Islands of inequality: the environmental history of Tobago and the crisis of development and globalisation in the Caribbean 1763–2007

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posted on 2023-06-07, 15:21 authored by Lowell Woodcock
This thesis explores the origins and logic of the interplay between landscape and public policy in the Caribbean island of Tobago. Tobago is the location of the world’s oldest protected tropical forest, established in 1763. This was the first but by no means the last occasion when particular policies have been formulated to regulate the relationship between land, commerce and people in Tobago. The thesis traces the emergence of particular ethics of land use and property in the Tobago from 1763 up to the present day and their interplay within the logic of policy. The central research aim was to analyse the disjuncture between the intention of government development plans in Tobago, and the actual outcome of those plans for the people and landscape. This was approached both by ethnographic field study, and by archival and oral historical work that could discern the historical development of the language of modern policy. The project involved the writing of an environmental history of Tobago and an ethnographic account of debates and trends in contemporary environment and development policy in Tobago. The fieldwork revealed many gaps in the existing literature with respect to Caribbean environmentalism and the history of Caribbean landscapes. The detailed archival research, coupled with a revised theoretical frame that it supports, should reframe and improve modern debates concerning environment and tourism. Drawing together the findings of the thesis research is intended to help form a new understanding of the origins of contemporary Caribbean policy processes, the beliefs from which they derive, the debates they generate and their interaction with the physical environment.


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  • Sociology and Criminology Theses

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  • doctoral

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  • eng


University of Sussex

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