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CfP: What nature is valued, what nature is protected? Extraction, conservation & social movements in Latin America

Call for Papers:

What nature is valued, what nature is protected? Extraction, conservation & social movements in Latin America

Political Ecologies of Conflict, Capitalism, and Contestation Conference
7-9 July 2016, University of Wageningen, The Netherlands

In Latin America, new global environmental frameworks, such as the 2015 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), are being rolled out alongside increasing financial reliance on extractive industry in a contradictory situation where extractive industry is intensifying whilst global commitments to tackle climate change and ensure sustainable development gain momentum. Recent years have seen a growing extractive project in Latin America, which is transforming political regimes and development agendas. The impacts on landscapes are significant – Peru has the second-largest proportion of the Amazon rainforest after Brazil and has granted concessions for hydrocarbon exploration that cover 70% of this territory. Bolivia has become the most resource dependent country in Latin America (Veltmeyer & Petras 2014), following the election of the world’s first indigenous president. These developments are causing patterns of social conflict as political movements challenge their effects on environments, rights regimes, and landscapes, as well the ways that they have influenced supposedly progressive political regimes (see Canessa 2014; Gudynas 2013; Bebbington & Bury 2013; Escobar 2010; Pellegrini & Arismendi 2012; Humphreys-Bebbington 2012; Humphreys-Bebbington 2010; Bebbington & A Bebbington 2010). Existing research concentrates on what these developments mean for politics, new political ideologies and notions of development (see Bebbington 2011; Haarstadt 2012). This panel will move the focus to nature conservation - investigating competing responses to extraction in terms of how nature is valued and protected by both international conservation actors and place-based social movements.

This panel seeks to critically explore the relationship between conservation institutions and environmental social movements as they respond to the intensifying pressures of extractive industry. Specifically, questioning how international conservation NGOs engage with social movements. This aims to build on crucial debates about the intersections and tensions between international conservation agendas, local needs and corporate involvement (see Chapin 2004), as well as to wider questions about about how nature is encountered, valued and protected (see Castree & Henderson 2014; Adams 2014; Buscher et al 2012; Robbins 2011; Brockington, Duffy & Igoe 2009; Martinez-Alier 2003 ).

We encourage submissions of papers that investigate overlaps between protected area conservation, social movements and extractive interests. Papers could address the following questioning:

  • How are discourses of conservation adapting to this new political landscape?
  • What are the key tensions and overlaps between the aims and agendas of conservation actors and social movements?
  • How are the socio-environmental struggles of social movements both included and excluded in conservation approaches?
  • Do international conservation institutions create, support or foreclose politicised spaces in which socio-environmental futures can be negotiated and (re)determined?

Please submit abstracts, no longer than 250 words, by 10 December 2015, to the session organizer Jessica Hope (<>. Please include a short biography.