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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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Year : 2007  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 184-201

Protection, Politics and Protest: Understanding Resistance to Conservation

Institute for Development Policy and Management, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom

Correspondence Address:
George Holmes
Institute for Development Policy and Management, University of Manchester, Manchester
United Kingdom
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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This paper presents a framework to understand how conservation, in particular protected areas and national parks, are resisted, based on theo­ries of subaltern politics and a review of thirty-four published case studies. It is informed largely by Scott's concept of everyday resistance, which considers the informal subtle politics involved in social conflicts where there are con­straints on the ability of some people to take open, formal action. These ideas are critiqued and adapted to the particular context of conservation regula­tion, which is distinct from many other types of rural conflict. In particular, it recognises the importance of continuing banned livelihood practices such as hunting or farming in resistance, and the particular symbolism this has in conflicts. It also shows the importance of not just social factors in these con­flicts, but also the role of physical properties of natural resources in deter­mining the form of resistance. As well as the theoretical contribution, by showing the variety of responses to this resistance this paper aims to make conservation practitioners more aware of the forms local resistance can take. Rather than being a simple call for a more socially just conservation, it goes beyond this to provide a tool to make conservation better for both local com­munities and biodiversity.

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