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Governmentality and Conservation

  • By: Ruth Lane
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Governmentality and conservation is a developing area of scholarship that addresses the alignment of nature conservation initiatives with political, economic, and social change. It draws heavily on the French philosopher Michel Foucault's analytics of government to describe and critique some of the shifts occurring in the relationships between government, corporate, and community actors concerning nature conservation, emphasizing the roles played by both individual and collective subjects within broader networks of power relations that operate on multiple geographical scales.

From his studies of government transformations in Europe between the 15th and 18th centuries, Foucault observed that new political rationalizations emerged in particular sites at particular historical moments, underpinned by coherent systems of thought. While beginning as new sets of ideas and systems of thought, these practices eventually ...

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