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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 : 4  |  Page : 343-351

Introduction: New Frontiers of Ecological Knowledge: Co-producing Knowledge and Governance in Asia

1 Department of Anthropology, York University, Toronto, ON, Canada
2 Department of Geography, York University, Toronto, ON, Canada

Correspondence Address:
Shubhra Gururani
Department of Anthropology, York University, Toronto, ON
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-4923.155575

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This essay makes a case for centering the questions of ecological knowledge in order to understand how environmental governance and resource access are being remade in the frontier ecologies of Asia. These frontiers, consisting of the so-called uplands and coastal zones, are increasingly subject to new waves of extractive and conservation activities, prompted in part by rising values attached to these ecologies by new actors and actor coalitions. Drawing on recent writings in science and technology studies, we examine the coproduction (Jasanoff 2004) of ecological knowledge and governance at this conjuncture of neoliberal interventions, land grabs, and climate change. We outline the complex ways through which the involvement of new actors, new technologies, and practices of boundary work, territorialisation, scale-making, and expertise transform the dynamics of the coproduction of knowledge and governance. Drawing on long term field research in Asia, the articles in this special section show that resident peoples are often marginalised from the production and circulation of ecological knowledge, and thus from environmental governance. While attentive to the entry of new actors and to the shifts in relations of authority, control, and decision-making, the papers also present examples of how this marginalisation can be challenged, by highlighting the limits of boundary-work and expertise in such frontier ecologies.

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