Comparing alternative media in North and South: the cases of IFIWatchnet and Indymedia in Africa’ Environment and Planning A 1173 – 1189

Abstract. Alternative media form an important part of the global mediascape. Research on this phenomenon is, however, often drawn from studies in the ‘global North’. In this paper we discuss alternative media in the ‘global South’, by exploring two case studies of cooperation between Northern and Southern partners: IFIWatchnet in South America, and Indymedia Centre in Africa. We highlight how Northern and Southern partners differed in identity, organizational forms, and accountability. We find that Northern partners were oriented to more ‘marginal’ identities, fluid organizational structures, and informal structures of accountability. In contrast, Southern activists articulated more ‘mainstream’ identities, relied on more structured forms, and linked to formalized modes of accountability. The result was often significant clashes over what it meant to be alternative media, how alternative media should be organized, and how people should be held to account. This meant that North – South cooperation was often fraught with struggle. These difficulties are reminiscent of the limitations of creating global cooperation through seeking to spread modes of activist organization developed in the North, which emphasize autonomy, networks, fluidity, and, in some instances, direct action. Authors:  Fabian Frenzel, Steffen Boehm, Pennie Quinton, André Spicer, Sian Sullivan, Zoe Young

Time to Breathe – Afterword in ‘Upsetting the Offset’

Upsetting the Offset – Mayfly Books 2009.

This book engages critically with the political economy of carbon markets. It presents a range of case studies and critiques from around the world, showing how the scam of carbon markets affects the lives of communities. But the book doesn’t stop there. It also presents a number of alternatives to carbon markets which enable communities to live in real low-carbon futures.

Green aid in India and Zimbabwe – Conserving whose community?

ArticleinGeoforum 32(3):299-318 · August 2001


What happens when global institutions try to assist community conservation in some of the world’s least industrialised areas? Among the `cutting edge’ projects grant-aided by the Global Environment Facility (GEF, a World Bank-hosted fund for `global environmental benefits’) are `CAMPFIRE’ – the Communal Areas Management Programme For Indigenous Resources – in Zimbabwe, and `India Ecodevelopment’. Both are intended to combine protection of biodiverse wildlife with participatory rural development for impoverished local communities. We explore the `ground truths’ of these projects in two historical and political contexts. We ask whether aspiring managers of `global resources’ can sufficiently transcend ongoing tensions in `local political ecology’, while diverse value systems and experiences remain distant. We conclude with thoughts about the `sustainable development’ of foreign missions old and new.