Power in Conservation: Environmental Anthropology Beyond Political Ecology, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Power in Conservation

Environmental Anthropology Beyond Political Ecology, 1st Edition

By Carol Carpenter


224 pages

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Paperback: 9780367342500
pub: 2020-06-02
Available for pre-order. Item will ship after 2nd June 2020
Hardback: 9780367342517
pub: 2020-06-02
Available for pre-order. Item will ship after 2nd June 2020

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This book examines theories and ethnographies related to the anthropology of power in conservation.

Conservation thought and practice is power laden—conservation thought is powerfully shaped by the history of ideas of nature and its relation to people, and conservation interventions govern and affect peoples and ecologies. This book argues that being able to think deeply, particularly about power, improves conservation policy-making and practice. Political ecology is by far the most well-known and well-published approach to thinking about power in conservation. This book analyzes the relatively neglected but robust anthropology of conservation literature on politics and power outside political ecology, especially literature rooted in Foucault. It is intended to make four of Foucault’s concepts of power accessible, concepts that are most used in the anthropology of conservation: the power of discourses, discipline and governmentality, subject formation, and neoliberal governmentality. The important ethnographic literature that these concepts have stimulated is also examined. Together, theory and ethnography underpin our emerging understanding of a new, Anthropocene-shaped world.

This book will be of great interest to students and scholars of conservation, environmental anthropology and political ecology, as well as conservation practitioners and policymakers.


"Power in Conservation is that wide-ranging and accessible, but cutting-edge introduction to contemporary conservation, social science and theory for which students, researchers. and practitioners alike have been searching. Carpenter provides to the curious reader a deep analytic exploration, one that will repay reading with useful tools and unexpected insights in every chapter of this brilliant book."Arun Agrawal, Professor, School for Environent and Sustainability, University of Michigan, USA

"In this bold, workmanlike and approachable overview of the anthropological literature, Carol Carpenter engages with the theoreticians and significant ethnographic studies that underpin our emerging understanding of a new Anthropocene-shaped world. It is Foucault and his interpreters who dominate this new synthesis, and nuanced ethnographic accounts that show us the links between power and knowledge, sovereignty and governmentality, and which take us beyond the paradigm of 'political ecology'. A magnificent synthesis."Roy Ellen, Centre of Biocultural Diversity, University of Kent, UK

"Carol Carpenter provides a clear and usable – but not simplified - theoretical tool kit for understanding power in conservation, and explains why a fine-grained, ethnographic attention to the workings of power is essential for effective conservation practice. Her rigor is impressive, and the implications of her analysis are profound. A masterful contribution."Tania Li, Professor of Anthropology, University of Toronto, Canada

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2. Discourses and their Power in Foucault 3. Seminal Works on the Power of Discourses 4. Discourses of Conservation 5. The Triangle in Foucault 6. Sovereignty, Discipline, and Governmentality in Ethnographies 7. States and Centers, Simplifying and Calculating 8. Articulations between Knowledges in Ethnographies 9. Subject Formation in Foucault 10. Subject Formation in Ethnographies 11. Capitalism and Neoliberal Governmentality in Foucault 12. Cultivating Neoliberal Subjects in Ethnographies 13. The Economy in Ethnographies 14. The Invisibility of Implementation and Governmentality 15. Practices of Assemblage and Assemblages of Effects 16. Universals, Collaborations, and Global Agreements 17. World-Making in the Anthropocene 18. Conclusion

About the Author

Carol Carpenter is Senior Lecturer in the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University, USA. She is co-editor of Environmental Anthropology: A Historical Reader (2007).

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Conservation and the Environment

This series includes a wide range of inter-disciplinary approaches to conservation and the environment, integrating perspectives from both social and natural sciences. Topics include, but are not limited to, development, environmental policy and politics, ecosystem change, natural resources (including land, water, oceans and forests), security, wildlife, protected areas, tourism, human-wildlife conflict, agriculture, economics, law and climate change.

This series publishes titles for all audiences, including students, scholars and professional/policy-makers. Authors or editors of potential new titles should contact Hannah Ferguson, Editor ([email protected]).

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
NATURE / General
NATURE / Ecology
NATURE / Environmental Conservation & Protection
SCIENCE / Environmental Science
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / General