The papers in this panel focus on how differing notions of place and nature are forged, contested and appropriated in the context of contact between 'local' collectivities and 'global' conservation or eco-tourism projects, organisations or agents.
Since the 1990s there has been a dramatic proliferation in the number and influence of environmental NGOs and conservation initiatives as well as in the area of land set aside as protected areas, particularly in regions occupied by societies who have customarily been dependent upon local ecosystems and who display varying, but in general quite intensive, degrees of attachment to place as well as distinct forms of environmental knowledge, practices and cosmologies. Environmental conservation has, in many places, become an important arena of contact between local and cosmopolitan worldviews, institutions, economies and practices.
The conservation programs are established in accordance with global requirements and directives, and are based on exogenous and universal conceptions. Nowadays, ecotourism is considered the main solution to ensure nature conservation, providing resources to the local populations. Nevertheless, these programs often generate situations of conflict between what people do with their places and the conservation impositions.
Pulling together ethnographies of conservation from different geographical contexts, this panel seeks to explore social, political, symbolic, discursive or phenomenological dimensions of such local-global exchanges, including instances of conflict, cooperation, appropriation and co-optation. Examples may include how local appropriations of the environment are re-structured, how changing relationships between humans and non-humans serve to remake places, or conflicts or hybridizations between 'traditional' and 'modern' ecological knowledge and cosmologies. Analysis of processes relating to patrimonialization and commodification of cosmologies and ecological practices are also encouraged.