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Nature Inc.

Environmental Conservation in the Neoliberal Age

Edited by Bram Büscher, Wolfram Dressler, and Robert Fletcher

Publication Year: 2014

Can “market forces” solve the world’s environmental problems? The stakes are undeniably high. With wildlife populations and biodiversity riches threatened across the globe, it is obvious that new and innovative methods of addressing the crisis are vital to the future of the planet. But is “the market” the answer?

As public funding for conservation efforts grows ever scarcer and the private sector is brimming with ideas about how its role—along with its profits— can grow, market forces have found their way into environmental management to a degree unimaginable only a few years ago. Ecotourism, payment for environmental services (PES), and new conservation finance instruments such as species banking, carbon trading, and biodiversity derivatives are only some of the market mechanisms that have sprung into being. This is “Nature™ Inc.”: a fast-growing frontier of networks, activities, knowledge, and regulations that are rapidly changing the relations between people and nature on both global and local scales.

Nature™ Inc. brings together cutting-edge research by respected scholars from around the world to analyze how “neoliberal conservation” is reshaping human–nature relations that have been fashioned over two centuries of capitalist development. Contributors synthesize and add to a growing body of academic literature that cuts across the disciplinary boundaries of geography, sociology, anthropology, political science, and development studies to critically interrogate the increasing emphasis on neoliberal market-based mechanisms in environmental conservation. They all grapple with one overriding question: can capitalist market mechanisms resolve the environmental problems they have helped create?

Published by: University of Arizona Press


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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-iv


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pp. v-2

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Introduction. Nature™ Inc.: The New Frontiers of Enviornmental Conservation

Robert Fletcher, Wolfram Dressler, and Bram Büscher

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pp. 3-22

The global conservation movement is undergoing profound changes. While the venerable fortress conservation paradigm has been thoroughly critiqued (Brockington 2002; Igoe 2004; Adams 2004), the community-based conservation (CBC) approach that aimed to replace it, along with the integrated conservation and development projects (ICDPs) in which CBC is commonly...

Part I. Nature™ Inc.-Society Entanglements

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1. Capitalizing Conservation on Palawan Island, the Philippines

Wolfram Dressler

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pp. 25-43

Market-based conservation is often heralded as the most efficient and effective means to improve rural livelihoods and conserve forests in much of Southeast Asia (Landell-Mills and Porras 2002; Pagiola, Bishop, and Landell-Mills 2002; Wunder 2008). State agencies, donors, and NGOs promote the payment of local users to maintain ecosystem services and further...

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2. Orchestrating Nature: Ethnographies of Nature™ Inc.

Kenneth Iain MacDonald and Catherine Corson

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pp. 44-65

In the summer of 2007 a reader of the London-based Independent posed a question to former US vice president Al Gore: “In 1992 you advocated a new set of ‘rules of the road’ for the conduct of the global economy, to take account of environmental costs and benefits. What progress do you think has been made since then?” Gore responded: “Not nearly enough....

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3. Nature, Vilagers, and the State: Resistance Politics from Protected Areas in Zimbabwe

Frank Matose

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pp. 66-84

This chapter addresses what Harvey calls “accumulation through dispossession” (2003, 93) insofar as conservation leads to dispossession, alienation, and ultimately impoverishment of rural people around protected areas. Through a case study of protected forests in Zimbabwe, the chapter argues that the colonial and postcolonial Zimbabwean state implemented...

Part II. Representations of Nature™ Inc.

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4. Taking the Chocolate Laxative: Why Neoliberal Conservation "Fails Forward"

Robert Fletcher

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pp. 87-107

As the full scale of the ecological problems confronting us has become increasingly apparent, efforts to address them have become increasingly focused on engagement with capitalist markets—a trend described in this volume as “Nature™ Inc.” Yet for many critics, it is precisely capitalist markets that are in no small part responsible for the environmental problems...

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5. Celebrity Spectacle, Post-Democratic Politics, and Nature™ Inc.

Dan Brockington

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pp. 108-126

Two frontiers of capitalist expansion are restructuring environmental resource use and policies. There is a new round of landgrabbing by elites, corporations, and governments worldwide that is threatening the resource bases of the rural poor (Borras et al. 2011; Fairhead, Leach, and Scoones 2012b). And there is the reconfiguration of environmental policies around payments for ...

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6. Capitalizing Conservation/Development: Dissimulation, Misrecognition, and the Erasure of Power

Peter R. Wilshusen

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pp. 127-157

Over the past twenty years, global conservation efforts have unfolded within the context of two macrotrends: attempts to frame and promote sustainable development and the rise of neoliberalism. More recent initiatives have explicitly joined these two domains of theory and action via global-scale programs aimed at constructing a “green economy.” Two high-profile international...

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7. Performative Equations and Neoliberal Commodification: The Case of Climate

Larry Lohmann

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pp. 158-180

Between the insight that current economic and environmental crises are being exacerbated by the new forms of commodification characteristic of neoliberalism and the detailed specification of what those forms are lies the work of a hundred lifetimes. Commodification is a many-splendored process, and it has to be. All commodities-in-the-making are different, and...

Part III. Nature on the Move: The Global Circulation of Natural Capital

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8. Nature on the Move I: The Value and Circulation of Liquid Nature and the Emergence of Fictitious Conservation

Bram Büscher

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pp. 183-204

This chapter is part of a broader project to understand the place of conservation in the critical analysis of the relations between nature and contemporary capitalism. While there are vast literatures on how “nature” and “capitalism” interrelate, these are overwhelmingly geared toward the manner in which the latter ...

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9. Nature on the Move II: Contemplation Becomes Speculation

Jim Igoe

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pp. 205-221

In the first intallation to this triptych, Bram Büscher posits the emergence of a “liquid nature”—a kind of “fictitious capital” no longer grounded in any specific material context or relationships.
Abstraction and financialization “are extending new possibilities for nature’s speculative release into the realm of circulating money” (Sullivan 2013b, 208). Liquid nature, Büscher (this volume) further argues, requires ...

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10. Nature on the Move III: (Re)countenancing an Animate Nature

Sian Sullivan

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pp. 222-245

In the beginning, the primal Mother Tiamat was creator of the universe, heaven and earth, water, air, and plants. This female serpent emerged from the sea to teach humankind the arts of living well. Over time, a complexified pantheon of gods and goddesses began to bear a curious resemblance to the egoic and heroic struggles of an emerging metropolitan elite....

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Conclusion. The Limits of Nature™ Inc. and the Search for Vital Alternatives

Wolfram Dressler, Bram Büscher, and Robert Fletcher

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pp. 246-254

This book began with the suggestion that “nature trademarked incorporated” stands as an apt metaphor for conservation in our times. The premise argued that in the neoliberal age, new frontiers of environmental conservation have become inextricably bound, defined, invested, and reinvented in terms of the interrelated dynamics of commodification, competition, ...


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pp. 255-286


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pp. 287-290


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pp. 291-298

E-ISBN-13: 9780816598854
E-ISBN-10: 0816598851
Print-ISBN-13: 9780816530953
Print-ISBN-10: 0816530955

Page Count: 304
Illustrations: 3 photos, 3 illustrations, 4 tables
Publication Year: 2014

OCLC Number: 877038521
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Nature Inc.