Conservation for whom? : considering gender and ethnicity in relation to nature conservation in Sweden

University essay from SLU/Dept. of Urban and Rural Development

Abstract: In 2001 the governmental letter ‘A Joint Policy for Nature Conservation’ was launched. It emphasized local participation as a matter of democracy. The program should also give women, men and people with foreign background the possibilities to express their view, knowledge and experiences in relation to nature conservation. The governmental letter initiated the LONA-program, a program with a focus on local nature conservation projects where participation was further emphasized. The aim of this thesis is to understand how gender, ethnicity and nationality are constructed within the documents of LONA and what the consequences of this construction might be on participation. By using an intersectional feminist perspective the interaction of hierarchies and power relations are analyzed to see how inclusion as well as exclusion related to these categories are created. This is done through discourse analysis. The connection between national policy level and local level practice is examined through a case-study of Steningedalen nature reserve. The thesis conclude that the above mentioned categories within the documents are presented as fixed and homogenous, this risks of reproducing stereotypes which affect the participatory process. Further it is highlighted whenever a participatory goal is stated that there is a need to focus on creating forms of consensus that assures as equal conditions as possible for all. There is a need to define participation and inclusion and one has to ask: What is the aim of working with these issues?

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