Productive Conflicts in Conservation Tourism

By Arjaan Pellis.
This study explores the performativity of conflicts in the context of conservation tourism, a policy intervention that aims at local economic development and biodiversity conservation through tourism development. Conservation tourism typically unfolds in heterogeneous policy environments where multiple actors, their interests, and relations across various spatial networks are prone to experience on-going instability, frictions between differences and, at times, can lead to serious confrontations in shape of emotionally laden, intractable and manifest conflict. Conflicts selected for this study function as productive and systematic processes that lead to ongoing change when they become manifest, both in possibly positive and/or negative effects depending on who is observing them.

I explore the performativity of conflicts across similar yet unique conservation tourism policy interventions in Namibia, Kenya and Portugal. By means of nearly 100 open ended interviews, participant observations, and policy analysis the following questions will be addressed: a) What conflicts exist in these cases; b) how are these conflicts defined by actors; c) how have selected conflicts developed over time; d) what productive role do these conflicts play; and finally, e) what is the performativity of typical conflict responses (e.g. conflict avoidance or ignorance) in the context of ongoing conservation tourism practices?

prof. dr. Rene van der Duim

dr. Martijn Duineveld