Reproducing forestry education, scientific authority, and management practices in Tanzania

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Sokoine University of Agriculture


Despite changing views about what forests are and what values they hold to society, the narrow vision of scientific forestry emphasizing demarcation, mensuration, calculation, and modelling remains hegemonic across most of the World, including in Tanzania. The reproduction of forestry across time and space is the topic of this thesis. The thesis considers the reproduction by conceptualizing forestry practices as a product of dispositions (habitus) and encountered situations within the forest management social field. The thesis links the production, circulation, and application of scientific forestry knowledge. Employing a qualitative methodology based on interviews, observations, and document analysis, the thesis thus examines the reproduction of forestry in educative practices at the Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), activities of forestry academics, and practices of government foresters. The pedagogy and curriculum of forestry education creates scientific forestry habitus for the forest management field. Forestry academics, who doubles as scientists and experts and occasionally as bureaucrats, conduct research and engage in consultancies in ways that preserve and perpetuate, rather than disrupt, the primacy of scientific forestry knowledge, consciously or unconsciously. Professional foresters’ habitus, acquired through forestry training, imply that technical practices are taken for granted. This is not to deny that foresters undertake strategic actions to maximize their personal benefits. But even so, the scientific forestry habitus predisposes foresters to reproduce technical forestry practices. Violence (injustices and failures) in forest management is thus a by-product of what appears to foresters as appropriate forest management approaches and practices. Violence is symbolic and often misrecognized because foresters have acquired a frame of seeing and thinking about landscapes with trees that naturalizes scientific forestry practices. This misrecognition of violence and failures reproduces existing practices by foreclosing the possibilities of seeing beyond and disrupting them. A radical rethinking of forest policy, and thus of the established scientific and social order, therefore presupposes a rethinking of the forestry curriculum and pedagogy.


PhD. Thesis


Reproducing forestry education, Scientific authority, Management practices, Tanzania