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畫一個輪廓,然後開始

05/23/2005

berkeley tower2

這是去年11月底的時候,為了申請加州大學柏克萊分校地理系博士班寫的研究計畫.短短的500字,卻也花了一個多月的時間耗在圖書管裡整理文獻.把這篇作為我部落格的第一篇文章有兩個目的. 第一,是要讓大家可以預期這個以讀書筆記為題的的部落格大概會出現哪些主題. 第二, 大家都知道研究方向是會變來變去的,很多人甚至看了新的文獻以後整個計畫換掉的; 我希望不論以後的研究變成如何,都能記得研究起點的模樣.

文章的結構是最安全保守的平鋪直敘法: (1)研究的提問,(2)提問的重要性, (3)研究方法, (4)個人能力, (5)為什麼Berkeley是最適合這個研究的地方. 在(3)的研究方法裡,實在想不出來要怎麼寫,所以就狡猾地以"可以研究的場域"來替代. 事後證明這個策略蠻成功的,有人說那一段頗有趣,而且將前兩段的理論部分具體化.所以我們可以學到的功課是: 路不轉人轉,狡猾如痞子揚的人有福了,因為admission是你的啦!!


(若需引用,請完整註明出處,謝謝啦 !)

By Shih-Yang Kao

My doctoral research aims to explore the relationship between natural resources, urban landscapes, and communities. Two research inquiries are proposed: 1) How the production of urban landscapes affects, and is affected by, the exploitation, distribution, and consumption of land-based resources, and 2) How everyday struggles over the control of and access to land-based resources within and around cities shape urban communities.

This line of inquiry marks out a new territory that has been hitherto neglected by two dominant research approaches: political ecology on one hand, and the study of urban environmental justice on the other. Political ecology uncovers the linkage between asymmetrical power relations and environmental degradation (Paulson, Gezon and Watts, 2003; Peet and Watts, 1993). Its orientation in studying the “land managers” of rural populations, however, has left out those actors who lack direct access to natural resources– most notably urban dwellers. Cities by definition are places that concentrate resources, and yet they have never been free from poverty. Thus they provide an important terrain in which the assumptions and methodology of political ecology can be further tested, adjusted, and strengthened. Environmental justice scholarship on cities, meanwhile, has pointed out that environmental risks tend to disproportionately affect poor communities (e.g. Logan and Molotch, 1987; Harvey, 1996; Agyeman, 2000). Nevertheless, urban communities’ access to natural resources–a crucial environmental factor that has a dialectic relationship to urban poverty–is often overlooked. The study of the social institutions and processes that determine the accessibility of resources in cities can therefore help frame a more radical concept of urban environmental justice.

I would like to propose three potential arenas in which this research can be carried out. The first is metropolitan squatter communities. Attention can be paid to ways in which informal and formal spaces are articulated and negotiated by actors in competition for key resources, especially water. The second is agro-product networks, composed of spaces of production, distribution, regulation, and consumption. It would concern how these spaces create, exclude, and are shaped by, communities; how they produce situated knowledge; and how the networks and the flows of resources define city-country boundaries. The third is the tourism industries in urban peripheries, such as fruit orchards, tea gardens, hot spring towns, and fields for tourist farming. The primary question here is how the commodification of landscapes into tourist wonderlands impacts accessibility of land-based resources. Issues that arise from these three arenas may overlap or interconnect; a close examination of their interconnection would produce more fruitful results. I expect that the research will incorporate both qualitative and quantitative methods. Moreover, my preoccupation with the cultural landscapes of East Asia and my proficiency in Chinese and Japanese languages make East Asian countries my preferred area of study.

Through previous volunteer experiences in both a rural village in Taiwan and my home town– a hot-spring-based community in the Taipei metropolitan area– I have developed a deep appreciation for the relationship between people and nature at the grass-root level. This appreciation underlies my motivation in studying the relationship between space and society. My graduate training in planning at the Harvard Design School introduced me to analytical frameworks for understanding the social, political, and cultural dynamics of cities. Moreover, through a year-long research for my master’s thesis on the issue of a national park controversy in Taiwan between mainstream society and indigenous communities, I have further prepared myself to carry out independent research.

I believe that I am competent for doctoral study, and UC Berkeley is the ideal place for me to pursue that goal. It is the place where the disciplinary limits of geography are tested, notably in the development of the fields of political ecology and urban geography. The geography department promises both solid theoretical training and a flow of ideas that would constantly challenge my own assumptions and propositions. My career goal is to return to Taiwan as a researcher and educator in the field of planning and geography. I believe that it is in UC Berkeley where I can best fulfill my intellectual curiosity and prepare myself for the future.

(若需引用,請完整註明出處,謝謝啦 !)

Reference
Agyeman, J. 2000. Environmental Justice: From the Margin to the Mainstream. London: Town and Country Planning Association.
Harvey, D. 1996. Justice, Nature and the Geography of Difference. Blackwell.
Logan, J. and H. Molotch. 1987. Urban Fortunes: The Political Economy of Places. Berkeley and Los Angles: University of California Press.
Paulson, S., Gezon L., and Michael Watts. 2003. Locating the Political in Political Ecology: An Introduction. Human Organization 26,3: 205-217.
Peet R., and M. Watts. 1993. Development Theory and Environment in the Age of Market Triumphalism. Economic Geography 69, 3: 227-253.

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