PhD on biodiversity offsets markets by Carlos Ferreira available online: Performativity and pluralities of biodiversity offsetting experiments

As a reg­u­lar reader of the Bio­di­ver­sity Off­sets Blog you have seen mul­ti­ple con­tri­bu­tions by Car­los Fer­reira on this blog which clearly mark his exper­tise in the field of bio­di­ver­sity off­sets. It is there­fore great to note that his doc­toral the­sis which he has com­pleted at the Uni­ver­sity of Man­ches­ter (2013) is now avail­able as full text (pdf). It is enti­tled “Per­for­ma­tiv­ity and plu­ral­i­ties of bio­di­ver­sity off­set­ting exper­i­ments: Towards a syn­the­sis of econ­omy as insti­tuted process and econ­omy as performativity”.

For more infor­ma­tion you can down­load the the­sis here or find a pdf here and see the abstract below:

Ferreira_2013_Performativity and plu­ral­i­ties of bio­di­ver­sity off­set­ting experiments


Devel­op­ment and land use change dimin­ish the quan­tity of nat­ural habi­tat, impact­ing neg­a­tively on the num­ber of ani­mal and plant species – bio­di­ver­sity. Con­cern about the con­se­quences of these losses has led to calls for mech­a­nisms which allow devel­op­ment to pro­ceed only when no net loss of bio­di­ver­sity can be assured, such as bio­di­ver­sity off­sets. Mar­kets for bio­di­ver­sity off­sets are being tried as mech­a­nisms for achiev­ing this soci­etal objec­tive in the most effi­cient man­ner possible.Theoretically, this the­sis devel­ops a frame­work con­nect­ing the Polanyi-inspired notion of the econ­omy as an insti­tuted process, and con­cepts devel­oped by Cal­lon  and col­leagues in the Social Stud­ies of Finance lit­er­a­ture. This frame­work is used to analyse the emer­gence, devel­op­ment and expan­sion of mar­kets for bio­di­ver­sity offsets.Using qual­i­ta­tive method­olo­gies, the research exam­ines in detail three exis­tent bio­di­ver­sity off­set mar­kets: Species Bank­ing (United States), Impact Mit­i­ga­tion Reg­u­la­tions (Ger­many) and Bio­di­ver­sity Off­sets (Eng­land). The emer­gence of mar­kets for bio­di­ver­sity off­sets is shown to be the result of per­for­ma­tiv­ity of eco­nom­ics. Chang­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tions of bio­di­ver­sity, anchored on eco­nomic sci­ences, lead to poli­cies which cre­ate eco­nomic exper­i­ments, such as mar­kets for bio­di­ver­sity off­sets. Because these mar­kets are his­tor­i­cal and geo­graph­i­cally con­tin­gent, the eco­nomic exper­i­ments emerge in the con­text of pre­ex­ist­ing reg­u­la­tions and tra­di­tions, result­ing in vari­ety of forms of organ­is­ing bio­di­ver­sity off­set mar­kets. To bring bio­di­ver­sity to the mar­ket involves mea­sur­ing and quan­ti­fy­ing exter­nal­i­ties. This requires the cre­ation and devel­op­ment of mar­ket agence­ments –assem­blages of agents and mar­ket devices – to com­mod­ify bio­di­ver­sity. These agence­ments con­sti­tute the tech­ni­cal infra­struc­tures upon which the mar­kets are built,but they too are con­tin­gent of pre-market prac­tice. This cre­ates ten­sions between the role of agents and the role of devices inside the mar­ket infra­struc­ture. Bio­di­ver­sity off­sets are shown to not main­tain their com­mod­ity sta­tus beyond cer­tain geo­graph­i­cal and geopo­lit­i­cal bound­aries. The result is the cre­ation of mutu­ally exclu­sive mar­ket nodes, between which no trade takes place. Despite com­mon ori­gins and infra­struc­tures, the local mar­kets do not exchange between themselves.This the­sis con­tributes a frame­work for the analy­sis of mar­ket emer­gence, in which two lit­er­a­tures are used to com­ple­ment each other’s lim­i­ta­tions. As a result, the the­sis is able to con­cep­tu­alise how a com­mon gen­er­a­tive mech­a­nism results in vari­ety of eco­nomic organ­i­sa­tion. It also demon­strates that it is pos­si­ble for mar­kets to share a reg­u­la­tory and tech­ni­cal infra­struc­ture, but not exchange between them­selves and expand.

Key­words : Bio­di­ver­sity Off­sets; Con­ser­va­tion; Insti­tuted Eco­nomic Process; Mar­kets; Per­for­ma­tiv­ity of Eco­nom­ics; Sus­tain­abil­ity; Sus­tain­able Consumption



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