NEWS | CfP for Political Geography special issue: ‘Conservation in Violent Environments’

Organisers of the 'Conservation in Conflict and Militarised Areas' workshop have released a CfP for a special issue in Political Geography: 'Conservation in Violent Environments'.

Following on from the ‘Conservation in Conflict and Militarised Areas’ workshop, held here in November 2017, the conference organisers Esther Marijnen (Ghent University), Lotje de Vries (Wageningen University) and Rosaleen Duffy (University of Sheffield) have released a Call for Papers for a Special Issue in the journal of Political Geography. ‘Conservation in Violent Environments’ aims to select papers that bring together different forms, practices and effects of violence in relation to conservation, and that deepen our understanding of how different forms of violence at different geographical scales, political projects, and local to international networks influence and/or relate to each other. The conveners are keen to provide coverage of examples drawn from a range of
geographical regions in order to develop an analysis of the broader global patterns.

The deadline for submission of abstracts is 30 March 2018. For more details on how to apply, please see below or download the full CfP.


CfP for special issue on “Conservation in ‘violent environments’”

Special issue proposal to Political Geography

Deadline for abstracts: 30 march 2018

Organizers: Esther Marijnen (Ghent University), Lotje de Vries (Wageningen
University) and Rosaleen Duffy (University of Sheffield)

In the proposed special issue, we aim to draw explicit theoretical linkages between political geography literature on violence and conflict (Raleigh and Linke 2018;  Springer and Le Billon 2016), and the environment (Benjaminsen et. al. 2017), more  specifically, the critical conservation literature in political ecology debates. Work on  so-called ‘violent environments’ (Peluso and Watts, 2001) brings the two fields of  research together. We aim to elaborate that concept further, to advance conceptual  and theoretical thinking in the critical conservation literature, by applying it to spaces where the (often violent) politics surrounding conservation is itself immersed within a larger violent context of conflict or war.

As such, this special issue will explore how conservation practices are intertwined with broader conflict dynamics and how this ties into struggles over power that can be traced to issues such as ethnicity, forms of land-use, race, class, gender in violent spaces. We propose to further the debates about how multiple actors are embedded within the political geographies of militarised conservation, and how their counter projects and claims, co-constitute ‘violent environments’.

Recent debates in political ecology focus on the emergence and spread of ‘green violence’ (Büscher and Ramutsindela, 2016), ‘green wars’ (Ybarra, 2012; Büscher and Fletcher, 2018), ‘green militarisation’ (Lunstrum 2014; Duffy 2014) and the greening of counter-insurgency (Dunlap and Fairhead, 2014; Verweijen and Marijnen, 2016). This literature mostly focuses on the structural and symbolical forms of violence associated with ‘green militarisation’. However, an important area that is overlooked and under researched in the critical conservation studies is how wider violent contestations and forms of domination feed into the conservation efforts. In other words: when and why is armed conservation caught up in broader patterns of physical violence, and conflicts over public authority (Marijnen, 2018)? Both conflict and violence are concepts short of clearly delineated definitions (Springer and Le Billon 20 16), and little is known on how conflict exactly become violent, who is affected by such violence, or how legacies of violent conflict and war continue to influence conservation spaces, practices and actors.

Abstracts should explore these questions in relation to protected areas in places affected by violent conflict or faced with other militarised or violent threats. We also encourage submissions that explore the linkages between environmental protection, violence and poaching beyond formal protected areas. Proposed papers can develop along different sub questions, e.g.:

• How do different conservation actors, operating at different scales, react to the specific challenges of conservation in areas of armed conflict? Also, how do para-military park guards themselves navigate their difficult position in these ‘violent environments’; respond to their hierarchies, while trying to protect their lives and their jobs?
• How do violent confrontations between conservationists and other armed actors contribute to the militarization of access, commodities, livelihoods and nature-society relations more broadly?
• How does the legacy and history of violent conflict and war continue to shape and influence conservation spaces in ‘post-conflict’ contexts? How does a history of war in and around protected areas continue to influence conservation spaces, practices and actors?

We aim to broaden the range of actors/ authorities we scrutinize when studying armed conservation, for instance by including the role of standing armies, rebel groups, poachers, (armed) pastoralists, vigilantes, customary authorities, as wildlife authorities, (international) NGOs, private military companies, businesses, and media. Often actors operating in the same field co constitute each other and roles may shift depending on changing circumstances (Lombard 2012). Broadening the scope and of actors allows us to better interrogate how conservation efforts are entangled with issues of militarized access, the commoditization of nature, ‘conflict resources’ and livelihoods.

Depending on the abstracts submitted, we will select papers that bring together different forms, practices and effects of violence in relation to conservation, and that deepen our understanding of how different forms of violence at different geographical scales, political projects, and local to international networks influence and/or relate to each other. We are keen to provide coverage of examples drawn from a range of geographical regions in order to develop an analysis of the broader global patterns.

Please send abstracts (of 200 words) to Esther Marijnen (esther.marijnen@ugent.be) and Lotje de Vries (Lotje.devries@wur.nl) by 30 March 2018. The special issue editors will select the papers which will become part of the special issue proposal.

Should the special issue be accepted by Political Geography, we have the following steps in mind:

30 September 2018: Submission of full drafts to special issue editors.
31 October 2018: All authors have received feedback from the editors
15 December 2018: Final versions are submitted to Political Geography.