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Conservation encounters: transculturation in the ‘contact zones’ of empire

[journal article]

Sundberg, Juanita

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Abstract In the last 20 years, Latin American countries have experienced a boom in conservation territories. At the same time, neoliberal restructuring of Latin American economies has devolved funding and management responsibilities to international NGOs. In this context, conservation projects have become important zones of encounter and contact, wherein those inhabiting protected areas are necessarily subject to and subjected by the discourses and practices of conservation institutions. How do local actors engage with these processes? This paper examines the cultural politics of conservation encounters in the Maya Biosphere Reserve, a protected area in Guatemala's northern department of Petén. Drawing upon the concept of transculturation and anti–essentialist framings of subject formation as performative, I outline how differently situated social groups in the reserve negotiate, contest and enact the daily discourses and practices of conservation as articulated by powerful US based international organizations.
Document language English
Publication Year 2006
Page/Pages p. 239-265
Journal Cultural Geographies, 13 (2006) 2
Status Postprint; peer reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)