CfP POLLEN20 – Convivial conservation: approaches for linking social and environmental justice

The Third Biennial Conference of the Political Ecology Network (POLLEN20)
Contested Natures: Power, Possibility, Prefiguration
Brighton, United Kingdom
24-26 June 2020

Session organizers

Laila Thomaz Sandroni (Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil) and Judith Krauss (University of Sheffield, UK).

Please submit your proposals for paper titles and abstracts (250 words max) with full contact details by Wednesday, 13 November 2019, to Judith Krauss: j.krauss@sheffield.ac.uk We look forward to hearing from you!

Session description

Growing concerns regarding widespread biodiversity loss, a rapidly changing climate and increasing socio-economic inequalities have prompted widespread calls for transformative change in the governance of socio-environmental relations.

In biodiversity conservation, different proposals have been put forward, including Half Earth (Wilson, 2016) and ‘New Conservation’ (Marvier, Kareiva and Lalasz, 2012), which champion reserving half the earth for conservation and embracing market-based approaches to conservation, respectively. These proposals have triggered heated debates about the fundamental aims and purpose of conservation, yet have also opened up spaces for contemplating radical approaches.

However, many of these ‘radical’ approaches do not challenge the underlying political and economic systems that are at the root of the global conservation challenges we face. Consequently, they do not deliver genuine transformations, failing to question the global market drivers of environmental and social destruction or promote a more equal voice for the communities living on a daily basis with human-wildlife conflict. By contrast, the recently proposed ‘convivial conservation’ approach (Büscher and Fletcher, 2019) pursues structural changes as well as grassroots solutions by collaborating with actors often marginalised in mainstream conservation approaches. In order  to promote co-existence, (bio)diversity and justice especially around apex predators, it draws on insights from both social sciences (e.g. Brockington, Duffy and Igoe, 2008) and natural sciences (e.g. Marchini, Ferraz et al., 2019).

This session aspires to flesh out further the theoretical tenets and practical proposals of convivial conservation. The aim is to reflect on where to situate convivial conservation in the broader conceptual debate on socio-environmental relations and transformations against the backdrop of new conservation, half earth and community conservation, as well as broader political dynamics favouring Northern, nationalistic or profit-oriented pursuits which deny, ignore and thus exacerbate socio-environmental degradation. At the same time, it also hopes to outline ways forward for convivial conservation research to make a difference for co-existence and justice in practice. We seek to engage panel presenters and listeners in a conversation about the strengths and weaknesses of this idea of convivial conservation as well as its potential for application to other spheres of life.

Possible questions asked and discussed might include:

  • What possibilities and challenges are there in promoting conviviality between humans and nonhumans, conceptually and empirically?
  • How are convivial conservation ideas materializing in practice?
  • How does convivial conservation relate to other on-the-ground experiences of conservation involving co-existence in the face of human-wildlife conflict?
  • How can a convivial conservation approach engage with the increasingly violent and authoritarian ecological politics on the rise in many places?

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