Archive for the ‘Conservation’ Category

International Institute of Social Studies (The Hague) of Erasmus University Rotterdam


The International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) is a leading academic centre for international development studies, and a University Institute of Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR). It is one of the oldest institutes in this field, having been established in 1952 by Dutch universities and the Netherlands Ministry of Education as a postgraduate institute for research, education and capacity building. The institute offers a PhD in Development Studies, a 15.5-month MA in Development studies with five Majors, and several post-graduate Diploma courses. Students come from over 50-60 countries.

The Staff Group Rural Development, Environment and Population Studies has a vacancy (1.0 FTE) for a Postdoctoral researcher (18 months) in the field of:

Agrarian and Environmental Studies (AES)

The Staff Group is engaged in research, teaching, advisory work and institutional capacity building in international development studies. It has recently formed a research program (RP), “Political Economy of Resources, Environment and Population”, which included the research areas of agrarian and environmental studies.




The successful candidate is expected to bring innovative research capacity to the ISS in the field of Agrarian and Environmental Studies, complementing and/or extending our work, among others, on environmental conservation, natural resource conflicts, and land grabs. The specific objective of the appointment is for a recently graduated (or soon to graduate) PhD to publish results from previous research, initiate new research, and contribute to the formulation and writing of research (grant) proposals (0.8 FTE), and to develop teaching experience that will enable her/him to make the transition from PhD researcher to an academic professional (0.2 FTE). Thematically, these activities will be focused on the broad areas of critical Agrarian and Environmental Studies, but the ideal candidate should have experience and be willing to conduct research in the specific areas of environmental conservation, political ecology and natural resource use and management from a critical political economy perspective.



  • A recently or nearly completed PhD in the social sciences (geography, anthropology, political science, sociology, etc.);
  • Evidence of publication capacity, including an emerging publications track record and clear research and publications plans;
  • Modest teaching experience, preferably at post-graduate level;
  • Teaching/research experience in the Global South;
  • Ability to work in an inter-disciplinary and international team;
  • Willingness to travel and conduct research abroad.

While open to all regional specializations, preference will be given to candidates with research interests in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Tasks and Responsibilities:


Recruitment will be made for an appointment of 1.5 years. A starting date between July-August 2013 is anticipated. Besides the detailed profile given above, the position involves the following tasks and responsibilities:

  • Publish high-quality articles and chapters;
  • Assist members of the research group with the writing and submission of research grants and externally financed research programs;
  • Undertake new research and (co-) publish on issues relevant to the AES programme, preferably focused on, but not limited to, Dr. Bram Büscher’s ongoing research on environmental conservation (see www.brambuscher.com for more information);
  • Contribute to the teaching of the Major “Agrarian and Environmental Studies”.

Appointment: ISS/EUR will offer a fixed temporary contract of 1.5 years. The appointment is envisaged at Postdoctoral level (scale 10 CAO NU).

Employment conditions: In accordance with those applied at the Erasmus University Rotterdam and indicated in the Collective Labour Agreement (CAO NU) of the Dutch universities. Salary being dependent on the candidate’s experience ranges from € 2403,- to
€ 3793,- gross per month under full-time contract. In addition, ISS pays an 8% holiday allowance and an end-of-year payment which is for 2013: 8,3 %.

Applications and more information: Applications, accompanied by a detailed Curriculum Vitae and the names of three Referees, should be addressed to the Personnel Office (Ms. Sabine Zebel), International Institute of Social Studies, P.O. Box 29776, 2502LT, The Hague, The Netherlands, preferably send in electronic form directed to vacancy AT iss.nl, before the 15th of May 2013. With equal qualifications preference will be given to a woman. Short-listed candidates will be requested to supply samples of published output and at that stage their referees will be contacted. More information about the vacancy can be obtained from Dr. Bram Büscher, Associate Professor of Environment and Sustainable Development, buscher AT iss.nl, or Dr. Max Spoor, Professor of Development Studies and Chair of the Staff Group and the Research Programme (spoor AT iss.nl).

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I recently did an interview with Freek Kallenberg, editor of Down to Earth Magazine, about the prospects of the current Green Economy. The interview (in Dutch!) can be found here:



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Ingrid Nelson and I are organising a session at the AAG meetings in April 2013, this is the Call for Papers:

Nature 2.0: Social Media, Online Activism and the cyberpolitics of Global Biodiversity Conservation

 Paper Session and CfP for the annual AAG meetings, 9-13 April 2012, Los Angeles, USA

Organized by: Bram Büscher (ISS, Erasmus University, the Netherlands) and

                     Ingrid L. Nelson (ISS, Erasmus University, the Netherlands)

With much global biodiversity, ecosystems and natural landscapes in persistent rapid decline, conservation actors and concerned individuals and organisations are looking for novel ways to pursue conservation objectives. A major new frontier is the so-called ‘web 2.0’ and related social media. Web 2.0 applications like Wikipedia and YouTube and social media such as Facebook and Twitter allow people to create, rate and change online content and share these within cyberspace. These developments enable internet-users to now ‘co-create’ and co-produce the online activities, services, spaces and information they produce or consume, at least within the limits of possible action. Conservation actors are rapidly deploying new web 2.0 and social media techniques and facilities, allowing those who are concerned about global biodiversity and ecosystem decline to (seemingly) more directly engage with conservation activities in other parts of the world. The term ‘Nature 2.0’ aims to capture these dynamics and the natures to which they lead.

This paper session aims to inspire curiosity and encourage exchange among scholars from a wide range of perspectives regarding the concept (and practices) of Nature 2.0 and the way it changes the global political economy of conservation in our neoliberal times. We invite papers that critically interrogate how social media, web 2.0 applications and new forms of online activism change the politics and material/cultural forms and practices of global conservation and how they affect people and biodiversity in different spatial and temporal contexts. Of special interest are papers that connect spaces of online conservation consumption (through activism, images, videos, fundraising, etc) with offline spaces of conservation production (protected areas, biodiversity hotspots, wildlife corridors, etc) in/from different parts of the globe.

In sum, the paper session aims to address the following core questions:

–          How can we conceptualize Nature 2.0 as a new space of enacting/practicing/experiencing global conservation and what new (or familiar) political conservation geographies follow from this?

–          Does the concept of Nature 2.0 reflect an emerging political economy of global conservation and what roles do variously positioned conservation ‘producers’ and ‘consumers’ play in this?

–          In what ways do web 2.0 technologies constrain and/or broaden the field of possible practices and discourses of conservation?

–          What are the epistemological and methodological challenges of conducting Nature 2.0 research?

–          How can we identify the relevant negative and productive aspects of power at work in the spaces/bodies/publics of and in relation to Nature 2.0?

–          How have social media and web 2.0 changed online conservation activism and the cyberpolitics of global biodiversity conservation?

–          What are some of the dominant Nature 2.0 on-line practices and how do they influence the work and activities of conservation producers and consumers?

–          How do online and offline conservation spaces affect and involve each other, and how does that influence global, national and local politics of conservation?

–          In which ways is Nature 2.0 characterized and influenced by broader changes in neoliberal capitalism, and which aspects of nature 2.0 are not sufficiently explained by these dynamics?

–          How can race, gender, sexuality, class, emotion, and other concepts inform our understanding of Nature 2.0?

We request paper abstracts by Oct. 15th. Please send a 250 word abstract, with title, contact information, and three keywords as an attachment to buscher AT iss DOT nl and nelson AT iss DOT nl.

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I have recently become part of the editorial team of the interdisciplinary, open access journal Conservation & Society. I am very excited about being able to contribute to this cutting-edge journal, and so help stimulate high-quality research on contemporary conservation-society issues. For more information, see the website: http://conservationandsociety.org/. To all academic colleagues and friends: do consider submitting a paper!

Conservation and Society

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Development and Change Forum 2012 (with a Debate section on Nature™ Inc.) is out!

See: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/dech.2012.43.issue-1/issuetoc  or go to the publications page to download the introduction to the debate section.


Edited by Murat Arsel and Bram Büscher



Post-neoliberalism in Latin America: Rebuilding and Reclaiming the State after Crisis (pages 1–21)

Jean Grugel and Pía Riggirozzi

Fight or Acquiesce? Religion and Political Process in Turkey’s and Egypt’s Neoliberalizations (pages 23–51)

Cihan Tuğal

Debate: Nature™ Inc.

Nature™ Inc.: Changes and Continuities in Neoliberal Conservation and Market-based Environmental Policy (pages 53–78)

Murat Arsel and Bram Büscher

What’s Nature Got To Do With It? A Situated Historical Perspective on Socio-natural Commodities (pages 79–104)

Nancy Lee Peluso

The Contradictory Logic of Global Ecosystem Services Markets (pages 105–131)

Kathleen McAfee

Market Masquerades: Uncovering the Politics of Community-level Payments for Environmental Services in Cambodia (pages 133–158)

Sarah Milne and Bill Adams

‘TEEB Begins Now’: A Virtual Moment in the Production of Natural Capital (pages 159–184)

Kenneth Iain MacDonald and Catherine Corson

Biodiversity for Billionaires: Capitalism, Conservation and the Role of Philanthropy in Saving/Selling Nature (pages 185–203)

George Holmes

Consuming the Forest in an Environment of Crisis: Nature Tourism, Forest Conservation and Neoliberal Agriculture in South India (pages 205–227)

Daniel Münster and Ursula Münster

The Tragedy of the Commodity and the Farce of AquAdvantage Salmon® (pages 229–251)

Rebecca Clausen and Stefano B. Longo

Geoengineering: Re-making Climate for Profit or Humanitarian Intervention? (pages 253–270)

Holly Jean Buck

How do Investors Value Environmental Harm/Care? Private Equity Funds, Development Finance Institutions and the Partial Financialization of Nature-based Industries (pages 271–293)

Sarah Bracking

Using the Master’s Tools? Neoliberal Conservation and the Evasion of Inequality (pages 295–317)

Robert Fletcher


Fred Halliday: Engagements, Languages, Myths and Solidarities (pages 319–339)

David Styan


Joan Martinez-Alier (pages 341–359)

Lorenzo Pellegrini

Çağlar Keyder (pages 361–373)

Tuna Kuyucu


Preempting Possibility: Critical Assessment of the IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2010 (pages 375–393)

Mazen Labban

Power Inequalities in Explaining the Link between Natural Hazards and Unnatural Disasters (pages 395–407)

Fikret Adaman

A Radically Conservative Vision? The Challenge of UNEP’s Towards a Green Economy (pages 409–422)

Dan Brockington

World Development Report 2012: Gender Equality and Development— A Commentary (pages 423–437)

Shahra Razavi

Poverty Alleviation and Smallholder Agriculture: The Rural Poverty Report 2011 (pages 439–448)

Jan Douwe van der Ploeg

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Old Land-New Practices? The Changing Face of Land and Conservation in Postcolonial Africa

11th – 14th September 2012, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa

Organised by Georgina Barrett (Rhodes University), Nqobile Zulu (University of Witwatersrand), Jenny Josefsson and Shirley Brooks (University of the Free State).

The ‘land issue’ is omnipresent across post-colonial Africa. It is a highly contentious and contested topic, which at times has proven explosive (Zimbabwe, Kenya), or else a persistent focus of identity politics (Tanzania, Sudan), or central to historically rooted struggles for equality and restitution (South Africa, Botswana). Yet, the legacy of colonial land use management from which these struggles are borne, continues to inform contemporary conservation policy practices. They are also conceptualised and legitimated by a fusion of international environmental and neoliberal market agendas and regional and national policy exigencies, framed by diverse socio-economic development challenges. One of many ‘solutions’ borne of this conjuncture has been the spread of conservation and environmental protection strategies which promise to ‘deliver’ on the requisite national economic and environmental priorities in adherence to broader international and regional prerogatives. Such promises are bound to the success of market orientated strategies for the preservation of Africa’s biodiversity. Furthermore, they are tied to the commoditisation of wildlife and wild spaces, and the
‘mass production’ thereof in a range of state-owned, private or joint partnership ventures, including parks, farms and conservancies. The results are not yet fully comprehensible, but it is evident that the post-colonial echoes the colonial, and in this continuity conservation and environmental protection strategies may perpetuate historical insecurities through the alienation of local communities from land ownership and management practices.

This conference was inspired by conversations amongst attendees of the Nature Inc. conference held at the Institute for Social Sciences (ISS) at The Hague in June 2011 interested in the complex issues surrounding land, conservation, and ‘security’ within an African context. It therefore aims to contribute to the development and sharing of knowledge and expertise with an explicitly pan-African focus. Specifically, it seeks to critically engage with the nexus between post-colonial land use changes and the development of conservation initiatives across the continent at both the theoretical and practical level with cognisance of their historical precedence.

The conference will be organised around the following themes:
• Conservation as a post-colonial land use option
• Historical and contemporary ecological imperialism
• Land use and identity politics
• Gender dynamics and conservation land use strategies
• Alienation, (in)security and conflict
• State and private environmental/conservation agendas
• Community-based natural resource management
• Market driven environmentalism and conservation in Africa
• Continuities and divergences in colonial (and apartheid) and post-colonial environmental
• Theoretical debates and practical realities- never the twain shall meet?

For more information about registration, paper and panel submissions, guest speakers, field trips and the opportunity to publish papers in a special edition of Journal of Contemporary African Studies, amongst others, go to the conference website HERE.

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AT the ISS we have a vacancy for Postdoctoral researcher “Agrarian and Environmental Change” (1.0 FTE), for a period of 2.5 years (30 Months).

The Blurb: the successful candidate is expected to bring innovative research capacity to the ISS in the field of Agrarian and Environmental Studies, complementing and/or extending our work, among others, on environmental conservation, natural resource conflicts, and land grabs. The specific objective of the appointment is for a recently graduated (or soon to graduate) PhD to publish results from previous research, initiate new research, and contribute to the formulation and writing of research (grant) proposals (0.8 FTE), and to develop teaching experience that will enable her/him to make the transition from PhD researcher to an academic professional (0.2 FTE). Thematically, these activities will be focused on the broad areas of critical Agrarian and Environmental Studies, but the ideal candidate should have experience and be willing to conduct research in the specific areas of environmental conservation, political ecology and natural resource use and management from a critical political economy perspective.

For more information, please see the ISS website, or send me an email (buscher AT iss DOT nl)!

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I am currently doing an incredibly exciting trip across Zambia, Malawi and northern Mozambique, about which I will try to post something in the next couple of day. First I wanted to share another exciting piece of news, namely that my Veni grant application was approved by the Dutch national research council NWO. This means 3 years of dedicated research, starting 2012!

The full title of the project is: Nature 2.0: the political economy of conservation in online and Southern African environments

And the summary of the proposal goes as follows:
Web 2.0 and social media applications that allow people to share, form and rate online content are crucial new ways for conservation organizations to reach audiences and for concerned individuals and organisations to be (seen as) „green‟. Recent research indicates that these developments might significantly change the political economy of conservation: the production and consumption of conservation and their social effects. Two important changes relate to how online activities stimulate and complicate the commodification of biodiversity, ecosystems and landscapes and how they help to reimagine ideas and ideals about „pristine‟ nature. Above all, this „nature 2.0‟ now (seemingly) allows those concerned about global biodiversity and ecosystem decline to more directly engage with and influence the governance of socio-ecological realities in other parts of the world. The research aims to investigate these transformations in relation to biodiverse areas in Southern Africa, a region with a chequered history of western-imposed conservation. Three questions are central: How do online, web 2.0 and social media conservation activities relate to and influence the governance of biodiverse areas in Southern Africa and the people who live there? Why and how do these activities depend on the reimagination and commodification of nature? What are the implications of these dynamics for (theorizing) the global political economy of conservation?
Innovatively combining insights and methods from political ecology, anthropology and media studies, the research will engage these questions by studying how online activities relate to, shape and reflect other social, political and economic practices. It transcends conventional empirical research by connecting actors, actions and technologies involved in the production and consumption of conservation across space and time. In times of increasing tensions between biodiversity decline and demands for human development, the practical and theoretical implications of the study will be highly relevant for sustainable global and local natural resource governance.

Considering the topic, it will become even more important to regularly post research outcomes and progress online! 🙂

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For those interested in what is happening at Nature™ Inc in the Hague, I am blogging about the conference on the Broker website. Follow it all here:

Nature INC on the Broker

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Just one week before the Nature™ Inc conference gets going! For the latest information, see the conference website. ISS just sent out a press release in English and Dutch, see below:


The Hague, 20 June 2011


 According to the United Nations, the Green Economy is supposed to solve three crises in one: global economic malaise, chronic poverty and the destruction of the environment. Too good to be true? 200+ social scientists convening at the international conference Nature™ Inc? Questioning the Market Panacea in Environmental Policy and Conservation, argue it is. In a time when market solutions to environmental problems seem generally accepted, this largest ever gathering of social scientists critical of these solutions will convene from 30 June – 2 July 2011 at the International Institute of Social Studies in The Hague, The Netherlands. Drawing on global perspectives and evidence from their field sites, they will sound a stern warning that the Green Economy will not only do little to address the three global crises but actually make them worse.

Participants at Nature™ Inc? will critically address the one issue that all international organizations, governments, businesses, NGOs have difficulty engaging: neoliberal capitalism. We live in neoliberal times and this powerful ideology is shaping economic, political and environmental realities across the globe. Yet no policy or strategy document about the environment ever starts with this fact or its implications. 200 scientists believe it is time to change this with serious discussions about the origins, reach and consequences of the true nature of economy we are in, and what effects it has on people and the environment.


Den Haag, 20 juni 2011

 200+ wetenschappers twijfelen aan de Groene Economie

Volgens de Verenigde Naties is de ‘Groene Economie’ het antwoord op drie mondiale crises: de kredietcrisis, het armoedevraagstuk en de degradatie van het milieu. Te mooi om waar te zijn? ‘Ja’, zeggen meer dan 200 wetenschappers die deelnemen aan de internationale conferentie Nature™ Inc? Questioning the Market Panacea in Environmental Policy and Conservation. In een tijd waar ‘marktwerking’ als standaardoplossing voor milieuproblemen wordt aangedragen wordt van 30 juni tot 2 juli bij het International Institute of Social Studies in Den Haag één van de grootste wetenschappelijke bijeenkomsten ooit gehouden gericht op een kritisch tegengeluid. Gebaseerd op wetenschappelijke inzichten uit onderzoek van over de hele wereld zullen de wetenschappers een sterke waarschuwing laten klinken dat de Groene Economie zoals voorgestaan door de VN en vele invloedrijke landen en organisaties niet alleen weinig zal doen aan de drie mondiale crises, maar ze zelfs zal verslechteren.

 Deelnemers aan Nature™ Inc zullen zich vooral richten op de vraag die bijna alle internationale organisaties, overheden, bedrijven en goede doelen vermijden in hun retoriek over de groene economie: welke kans van slagen heeft het in een kapitalistische context? Volgens dr. Bram Büscher, universitair docent bij het ISS en hoofdorganisator van de conferentie, is de groene economie niet simpelweg een technische oplossing, zoals het vaak word gepresenteerd. Het is een politieke strategie om het huidige kapitalisme een groen tintje te geven, terwijl het overduidelijk is dat de globale milieuproblemen zoals klimaatverandering en verlies van biodiversiteit juist ontstaan zijn door twee eeuwen kapitalistische ontwikkeling. “Om deze oplossing op waarde te schatten is het van vitaal belang om diepere kennis te hebben over en kritisch te reflecteren op het verband tussen kapitalistische structuren en het milieu. Helaas wordt dit debat niet gevoerd”, aldus Büscher. Meer dan 200 wetenschappers vinden dat dit moet veranderen, en dat we eindelijk een serieuze discussie aan moeten gaan over de daadwerkelijke aard van onze mondiale economie, en de negatieve gevolgen voor milieu en mens.

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