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Towards a synthesized critique of neoliberal biodiversity conservation

Buscher, B. and Sullivan, Sian and Neves, K. and Igoe, J. and Brockington, D. (2012) Towards a synthesized critique of neoliberal biodiversity conservation. Capitalism Nature Socialism 23 (2), pp. 4-30. ISSN 15483-290.

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During the last three decades, the arena of biodiversity conservation has largely aligned itself with the globally dominant political ideology of neoliberalism and associated governmentalities. Schemes such as payments for ecological services are promoted to reach the multiple ‘wins’ so desired: improved biodiversity conservation, economic development, (international) cooperation and poverty alleviation, amongst others. While critical scholarship with respect to understanding the linkages between neoliberalism, capitalism and the environment has a long tradition, a synthesized critique of neoliberal conservation - the ideology (and related practices) that the salvation of nature requires capitalist expansion - remains lacking. This paper aims to provide such a critique. We commence with the assertion that there has been a conflation between ‘economics’ and neoliberal ideology in conservation thinking and implementation. As a result, we argue, it becomes easier to distinguish the main problems that neoliberal win-win models pose for biodiversity conservation. These are framed around three points: the stimulation of contradictions; appropriation and misrepresentation and the disciplining of dissent. Inspired by Bruno Latour’s recent ‘compositionist manifesto’, the conclusion outlines some ideas for moving beyond critique.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Publisher's draft not permitted for Open Access
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): neoliberalism, conservation, capitalism, biodiversity, political ideology, critique
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Geography, Environment and Development Studies
Depositing User: Dr Sian Sullivan
Date Deposited: 16 Jul 2012 07:45
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:33

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