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Speaking Without Voice: Participatory Planning, Acknowledgment, and Latent Subjectivity in Barbados
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Dr Jonathan Pugh
Annals of the Association of American Geographers
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As elsewhere, participatory planning in Barbados aims to give more people a say in planning. Yet, there is a difference between people having the opportunity to speak and them having discovered a voice. This article examines the precarious relationship between voice, acknowledgment, and latent subjectivity in Barbadian fisherfolk during participatory planning. It is influenced by Stanley Cavell, pragmatic planning traditions, and postcolonial literature. Structurally, the analysis is split into four sections. First, the theme of fisherfolk exclusion from the west coast of Barbados is contextualized. Attention is given to the Folkestone Marine Park and Reserve (FMPR) participatory planning initiative. Second, the article analyzes how fisherfolk express alienation. A series of examples demonstrate how fishers become victims of their own words, because the signature of their linguistic authority always seems to lie elsewhere, with something or someone else. The causes analyzed include discourses of development and modernity; the culture of Barbados's political independence from the United Kingdom in 1966; a lack of political alternatives; the nature of creolization; Afrocentrism and negritude; how civil servants behave during participatory planning projects; and perceptions of fishing communities. A coherent story builds as the article progresses, of the linguistic authority of fishers’ words being beyond their control. Finally, the article analyzes how empirical research influenced pragmatic solutions developed by fisherfolk with the author. These involved working with British High Commissions to change thinking about what Caribbean development consultancy means.
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