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Title: <Chapter 7> Science in policy making: The eucalyptus debate and villagers in Thailand
Authors: Ubukata, Fumikazu
Issue Date: Mar-2009
Publisher: Center for Integrated Area Studies (CIAS), Kyoto University
Journal title: CIAS discussion paper No.8 : Forest policies for a sustainable humanosphere
Volume: 8
Start page: 57
End page: 63
Abstract: In policy making, different actors in various cases compete over distinct interests and values. Particularly in cases where problems and goals are ambiguous, the policy process is prone to manipulations in order to control outcomes. How are scientific debates utilized in the manipulation process? What are the missing elements in such a process? Given that science is not neutral, how can we more wisely involve science in the policy making? This paper tries to answer these questions by examining the case of the "eucalyptus debates" and the policy of industrial plantation in Thailand. Facing severe protests sparked by land conflicts, the state and private industry introduced a “farm-based” production system by rearranging the institutions, policies and strategies regarding eucalyptus planting. At the same time, they created an official discourse that claimed that eucalyptus itself had no ecologically harmful effects. Through de-contextualization and legitimization, science contributed significantly to this discourse and was manipulated to sustain conclusions beyond what it could support. Nonetheless, the villagers' negative views toward eucalyptus production and ecological problems still persisted, despite the state’s efforts to emphasize the harmless nature of eucalyptus. As this case demonstrates, science is vulnerable to politicization in policy making, particularly when its goals and methods are unclear and power relations among actors are biased. Nevertheless, the author does not deny the important role of science in making better policy. In order to avoid the problems identified in this paper, scientists should make efforts to recognize and integrate different “rationalities.”
Rights: © Center for Integrated Area Studies (CIAS), Kyoto University
The opinions expressed in this publication do not necessary represent the point of view of the Center for Integrated Area Studies, Kyoto University. The chapters in this publication present the opinion of the authors and not of the editor.
The total or partial reproduction of this publication, by any means is prohibited without the explicit written authorization of the Center for Integrated Area Studies, Kyoto University.
This publication can be cited, providing due credit is given to the authors, editor and publishing organization.
Appears in Collections:No.8 : Forest policies for a sustainable humanosphere

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