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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 : 2014  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 229-232

Introduction: Moving Beyond the 'Rational Actor' in Environmental Governance and Conservation

1 Department of Anthropology, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, NC, USA
2 Department of Anthropology, University of Maine, Orono, ME, USA

Correspondence Address:
Nicole D Peterson
Department of Anthropology, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, NC
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-4923.145128

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In this brief introduction, we examine the themes and issues that link the three papers in this special section. In each case, neoliberal conservation practices appear to be predicated on a certain kind of individual subject with certain kinds of motives and behaviours-the rational actor. Taken together, these three papers challenge three assumptions of rational actor models, including that individuals are self-interested and attempt to maximise their own benefits, that they only respond to economic incentives, and that economic markets are free, mutual, and rational. Together these articles promote greater attention to how individuals are conceptualised in conservation efforts, and suggest alternative ways to think through conservation projects.

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