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Exploring the political natures of large-scale conservation in Northern Europe : underlying values and strategic uses

Presented at 16th Swiss Geoscience Meeting. Berne (Suisse) - 1st December - . 2018
Abstract Following works on the intersection of neoliberalism and nature conservation, social scientists – notably political ecologists – have recently explored ways in which the contemporary upscaling of biodiversity governance in Europe is “lapsing” with de-politicization processes (Apostolopoulou et al., 2014). Using a large-scale protected area network project in Scandinavia as a case study, this paper shows that if the de-politicization of conservation in Europe is indeed related to governance arrangements, it is also conditioned and defined by particular conceptions of nature. Drawing on earlier theoretical efforts (e.g. Büscher, Dressler & Fletcher, 2014), I propose a typology that allows to critically address the variety and complexity of nature conceptions and their political implications in protected areas. In using spectacular, liquid and derivative frames to examine stakeholder claims about the identification of environmental problems and the way to solve them, I explore what political natures inform protected area networks and how they (de-)politicize, shape and territorialize conservation discourses and practices. First, I look at underlying values and beliefs that characterizes different conceptions of nature in my case study, such as the contemporary faith in connections and megaprojects. Second, I analyze how these conceptions facilitate different strategic uses, aiming at attracting extra funds or obtaining (sometimes undue) credit for particular actions. I conclude that the combination of spectacular, liquid and derivative natures in large-scale protected area networks corresponds to a form of fictitious conservation (Büscher, 2012) that contributes to de-politicization processes through an inclusive and consensus-driven rhetoric.
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Research group Pôle/Institut Gouvernance de l'environnement et développement territorial (PI-GEDT)
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FLORIN, Ian. Exploring the political natures of large-scale conservation in Northern Europe : underlying values and strategic uses. In: 16th Swiss Geoscience Meeting. Berne (Suisse). 2018. https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:111817

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Deposited on : 2018-12-04

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