Accepted paper:

Policy tectonics: theory and enactment within the UNESCO global geoparks network


Jonathan Karkut (University of Roehampton)

Paper short abstract:

The geoparks model is formed around a policy for sustainable territorial development. From grassroots initiative to formal UNESCO programme, this paper maps how taken for granted terms & mobilizing metaphors of a central charter,are balanced alongside syncretic enactments as seen in case study sites

Paper long abstract:

Moving from a group of four European territories that coalesced around EU funding, to a global network and programme acknowledged by UNESCO, the geoparks model was borne out of a frustration at the lack of political commitment to recognise and support the valorising, sharing and popularising of geological heritage. This paper follows the flow of geoparks policy which at its core is shaped around a centralising charter and guidelines. Most prominently when expressed in public forums and through descriptive and promotional material, an unproblematic and unpackaged response is given to features of the model such as its 'bottom up' approach. However, no sooner had the expansion and transmission of that policy been shaped into a common network of locations, then it started to migrate into new situations. With the addition of new geoparks each year, the conditions and assembled partnerships stretched the founding policy documents beyond the contexts within which they were originally framed. As traced through 3 case study geopark sites the paper presents how the geopark model is transformed through processes that bring together a plethora of alternative assemblages of actors and materials. These place into view a multiplicity of heterogeneous and shifting individual enactments which simultaneously seek to remain consistent to the 'pure' centrally unifying and essentialising geopark charter - echoing what Law et al. (2014) have described as modes of syncretism. The paper considers the variety of strategies that are applied to endure a mixture of pure and messy practices of the geoparks policy.

panel P087
Policy mobility in a globalised world: how ideas and practices of governance and management travel, settle and colonise new domains