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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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ARTICLE
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 330-343

Conservation's Ambiguities: Rangers on the Periphery of the W Park, Burkina Faso


Institute for Anthropological Research in Africa, Faculty of Social Sciences, Catholic University Leuven, Leuven, Belgium

Correspondence Address:
Julie Poppe
Institute for Anthropological Research in Africa, Faculty of Social Sciences, Catholic University Leuven, Leuven
Belgium
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DOI: 10.4103/0972-4923.105538

This article demonstrates the central role of ambiguity in the (re)production process of conservation practice. It argues that some current political economy as well as environmentality approaches to research conservation practice fail to capture the complexity of the lived experience of local conservationists. The article focuses on the multiple identities of rangers in interaction with other residents at the periphery of the W Park in Burkina Faso, as rangers are local conservationists who simultaneously submit to and produce conservation practices. Park rangers are village men who are recruited under the banner of community participation in conservation projects and state forestry. On a day-to-day basis, these rangers help the foresters with the management of the natural resources on the one hand, and guide tourists, especially in the hunting concessions, on the other. They occupy ambiguous positions at the crossroads of conservationist, state, political, economic, spiritual, social, and cultural practices, inherent to their conservation occupations at the lowest echelon, where residents have to transform conservation policies into practices. It is precisely this ambiguity that turns out to ensure the conservation implementation.


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