Contesting forest neoliberalization: Recombinant geographies of 'illegal' logging in the Balkans

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Although the political and economic strategies through which forests have become targets for the expansion and deepening of neoliberal agendas are relatively well researched, comparatively less is known about the reflections of such dynamics at the level of everyday life within communities and households. This is particularly true in the post-communist states of Southeastern Europe (SEE), which have seen the transformation of formerly centralized and hierarchical integrated monopolies in the management of forest resources into a myriad of diverse commercial enterprises outside the control of the state. With the aid of on-site research undertaken in Macedonia, therefore, this paper investigates the neoliberalization of the Balkan forestry sector within the context of illegal logging practices. The experiences and aspirations of individuals implicated in such activities are used as a basis for interrogating the privatization and marketization of forest resources, and the rise of corruption. The broader purpose of the paper is to explore the 'recombinant' (Stark, 1996) nature of capitalism in this part of the world, thanks to which neoliberalism is 'challenged and changed by its encounter with nature' (Duffy and Moore, 2010). © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-21
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Balkans
  • Corruption
  • Forestry
  • Legality
  • Livelihoods
  • Neoliberalism


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