This article seeks to contribute some theoretical elements to the conflict in Mexico with the Zapatista indigenous movement, and to the analysis of the use and management of natural resources in the context of wider debates about development. In order to pursue these discussions, three key questions have been identified, around which this article is structured. Firstly, given that there are different conceptualisations of the appropriation of nature - those who pursue the individual versus those based on social appropriation of nature - which prevails and why? Here we also consider how these different conceptualisations are rooted in different development paradigms. Secondly, and as a consequence of these differing approaches to the appropriation of nature, there are also differing paths or approaches to participation. Whose voices are heard in the debates about the use of natural resources, and about development models? What are the mechanisms through which excluded groups (such as the indigenous peoples of Mexico) can make their views known? Thirdly, we try to draw together theoretical debates around the appropriation of nature and approaches to participation and inclusion, to build some potential links between participation and sustainable development. This involves analysis of the ways in which emerging initiatives for sustainable development are articulated, together with their potential for redesigning environmental policy.
IDS Bulletin (2002) 33 (2) 1-10 [DOI: 10.1111/j.1759-5436.2002.tb00018.x]