Accepted Paper:

Natural heritage, public participation and different regimes of truth  

Author:

Jose A. Cortes-Vazquez (University of A Coruña)

Paper short abstract:

Participatory forms of governance in the field of natural heritage and natural protected areas tend to reproduce pre-existing regimes of truth. In this paper I show how this explains the different attitudes, resistances, engagements and disengagements with the participatory process among local stakeholders.

Paper long abstract:

This paper examines different governmental strategies that have been designed to promote public participation in natural protected areas in Andalusia (Spain) over the last few decades. Based on the existing literature and on the ethnographic study of a particular case -the Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park- during a period of ten years, I reflect about the outcomes of these participatory strategies. Rather than to evaluate their success in integrating local stakeholders' interests and concerns into decision-making, I examine how these governmental strategies are enmeshed into different 'regimes of truth', which remain unquestioned throughout the entire participatory process. These regimes not only justify at the level of discourse the introduction of conservation measures, but also bring about an assemblage of technologies of self and of government at a distance. In such circumstances, participation ends up reproducing these same governmental technologies and therefore the social fractures and power relations that they generate. I use this argument to explain the different attitudes, resistances, engagements and disengagements with the participatory process in natural protected areas throughout the entire period of my research.

Panel Heri03
Imperatives of participation in the heritage regime: statecraft, crisis, and creative alternatives (Cultural Heritage and Property Working Group)