A short comment piece by Jared Margulies (University of Alabama), Rebecca Wong (City University of Hong Kong) and Rosaleen Duffy (University of Sheffield) has been published in Geoforum. Titled ‘Understanding drivers of demand, researching consumption of illegal wildlife products: A reply to Bergin et al’, it responds to a critique of their 2019 article ‘The imaginary “Asian Super Consumer”: A critique of demand reduction campaigns for the illegal wildlife trade’.
The 2019 article argued that demand reduction campaigns for IWT can build on and reproduce problematic racist stereotypes, with campaigns often presenting ‘Asian Super Consumers’ as ‘the problem’ in IWT. The authors recommended that more culturally nuanced and locally specific understandings of patterns of consumption in IWT may help demand reduction campaigns to be more effective and help reduce cultural misrepresentation and racism in conservation initiatives more broadly.
The response from Bergin et al argued that the authors had overlooked specific demand reduction campaigns that were grounded in research and demonstrated cultural nuances and sensitivities, thus not perpetuating the stereotypes and culturally-blunt narratives that the authors had set out to critique.
In their response, Margulies, Wong and Duffy state that they are pleased that culturally nuanced campaigns exist, and that they encourage more of this kind. However, they also highlight how there still remains overwhelming focus on Asian wildlife consumption despite widespread problems of IWT in Europe and North America
Both the comment piece and original article are Open Access and you can download copies below:
Original article | Oct 2019
Comment & response | Aug 2020