The International Handbook of Environmental Sociology, Second Edition
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The International Handbook of Environmental Sociology, Second Edition

Edited by Michael R. Redclift and Graham Woodgate

This thoroughly revised Handbook provides an assessment of the scope and content of environmental sociology, and sets out the intellectual and practical challenges posed by the urgent need for policy and action to address accelerating environmental change.
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Chapter 26: A ‘Sustaining Conservation’ for Mexico?

Nora Haenn


Nora Haenn Introduction If environmental protection depends on public participation and public acceptance of environmental programmes, then today’s environmentalism faces two challenges. On the one hand, environmental programmes must counteract the social inequalities that disenfranchise millions of people whose actions affect local and global ecologies (Beierle and Cayford, 2002; Fischer, 2000). Environmentalism becomes a question of social justice when marginalized groups decline or are unwelcoming to protection programmes precisely because of their status. On the other hand, environmentalism must reckon with a diversity of cultural perspectives that result in radically different ways of understanding the world (Dove, 2007; Dryzek, 2005; Nazarea, 1999). From their diverse cultural standpoints, people differ over whether environmental problems exist, who is responsible for them, and what (if any) actions should be taken to ameliorate such problems. How questions of social justice and multiculturalism play out in environmental settings remains a pressing question for researchers (Brosius et al., 2005), especially those who seek a ‘sustaining conservation’: conservation that endures, one that supports both the physical environment and the social relations that make conservation possible. The following pages illustrate the importance of social justice and multiculturalism to lasting conservation management. Of particular interest to the idea of a sustaining conservation are cases where a state government – a possible guarantor of social justice – acts within a culturally diverse setting. With their combination of state and private sector interests, as well as international, national and local actors, conservation sites condense class, cultural and public/private divides (West, 2006). Because they...

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