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Accepted Paper:

Up-for-grabbing nature: Contradictions in natural protected areas management after a decade of austerity  
Jose A. Cortes-Vazquez (University of A Coruña)

Paper long abstract:

Conservation policies in natural protected areas suffered a major blow after the imposition of neoliberal austerity in Spain following the 2008 financial crisis. Beginning in 2011, severe cut-backs in conservation budgets and personnel left many parks underfunded and understaffed. Many services, hitherto carried out by public agents, were externalized and sub-contracted to private agents with the idea of reducing public expense and to encourage private involvement in conservation. Despite the neoliberal attack on conservation policies as a burden to economic growth and job creation, parks were not delisted and conservation policies were not revoked; but certain de-regulations were successful in loosening the requirements for many new private activities, both green and un-green. However, there has been little interest from the private sector on making conservation their business. In this paper, I conceptualize these changes as nature up-for-grabbing: a contradictory process that follows the more general push of neoliberal conservation, but also fails in making protected nature a new commodity. The focus will be on the strategies followed by public agents, park managers and bureaucrats to create the conditions for such ambivalent results.

Key words:

Neoliberal conservation, parks, Spain

Panel P050b
Transformations in the anthropology of conservation II
  Session 1 Friday 29 July, 2022, -