Panels details > Panel 27

P27- Examining 'Free Prior and Informed Consent': empowering publics or producing consent?

PANEL Organizers :

• Mahanty Sango (, Australian National University (Australia)
• Milne Sarah (, Australian National University (Australia)



“Free Prior and Informed Consent” (FPIC) is now hailed as a key social safeguard in market and resource interventions. FPIC involves principles and norms about the role of specific “publics” in particular decision arenas, as well as procedures and praxis to gain “consent” and access to resources. While much has been written on the effectiveness of sectoral and project level FPIC processes, FPIC's emergent properties and broader governance implications have so far escaped systematic scrutiny. From its origins as a mechanism to protect the politically marginalised, FPIC has taken on a life of its own. In certification systems (e.g. carbon, timber), FPIC now operates as a market standard to reassure consumers that certified commodities have avoided a trail of adverse social outcomes. FPIC is also, after Foucault, a set of “guiding rationales, prescriptive techniques and tactics for governing” (Gibbon and Ponte 2009: 367) that participating actors can internalise and “perform”, often in simplified ways, to “produce” consent. Far from a hegemonic regime, however, FPIC's multi-scalar assemblage of rules, actors and networks encompasses diverse interpretations, negotiations, frictions and emergent properties. With FPIC's growing status as a panacea for all manner of social risks, this panel addresses the pressing need to better understand its negotiated, emergent and unpredictable outcomes in different sectoral and country contexts. Empirically rich papers will examine one or more of the following themes: What are FPIC's epistemological foundations? How do we explain FPIC's traction and “stickiness”? How does FPIC contribute to Tsing's notion of “economy of appearances” or “expectations”? (Tsing 2000) What frictions are produced by FPIC (e.g. negotiations between international and national domains, and over which actors are legitimised within FPIC processes)? To what extent is FPIC opening up space for local agency and why? What is the relationship between FPIC and indigenous identity? 


Free Prior and Informed Consent, FPIC, assemblage, safeguard, markets, environment, certification


Faculty E2.14

SESSION 1 : 8/07/2015 : 13:15-14h45

Chair :

Sango Mahanty (, Australian National University (Australia)

Free Prior and Informed Consent: social safeguard or instrument of coercion?
Sango Mahanty (,
Australian National University (Australia)

The Road to Hell is Paved with Incorporated Land Groups
Colin Filer (,
Australian National University (Australia)

FPIC (Free Prior and Informed Consent) and thedouble act of fetishisation in forest carbon markets
Sarah Milne ( and Sango Mahanty, Australian National University (Australia)

Whose Consent to What? Problems and Promises of Operationalising FPIC as a Deliberative Process
Lisbet Christoffersen (, University of Copenhagen (Denmark)


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