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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 : 2018  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 280-290

Living in a Cage: The Intimate Geographies of Conservation in South Africa and Tanzania

Professor, Social Science Division, Quest University Canada, Squamish, British Columbia, Canada

Correspondence Address:
John Reid-Hresko
Professor, Social Science Division, Quest University Canada, Squamish, British Columbia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/cs.cs_16_165

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National parks are socially produced conservation spaces that shape the lives, understandings, and behaviours of the men and women who live and work within them. This article draws on 18 months of comparative ethnographic research with men and women who are employed and reside inside in protected areas in northern Tanzania and South Africa's Kruger National Park. Protected area management decisions regarding the migration, isolation, concentration, and living arrangements of employees combine with structural forces of relational material inequality and varied understandings of gender relations to produce geographies of intimacy that shape both perceptions and patterns of sexual and emotive behaviours in powerful, and potentially troublesome, ways among conservation actors. Although the specific configuration of this constellation of forces is context dependent and unique to each location, there are also discernable similarities across national context. Given the human resource intensive nature of conservation, these findings have direct relevance for the future success of national parks in both countries and for conservation more generally.

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