To care about the environment : Technologies of government in forest conservation - Khasi Hills, India

University essay from Stockholms universitet/Kulturgeografiska institutionen


Involvement of communities in forest conservation and other forms of environmental governance isproliferating. Reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD+) is one mechanism,designed to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by reversing deforestation trends in low-incomecountries. The benefits of involving communities in conservation projects have been recognized,but one aspect of environmental governance that so far has received less attention is how theinterests and attitudes of people towards the environment are altering over time and with newinstitutional arrangements. Based on interviews and group discussions during fieldwork in theKhasi Hills REDD+ project, Meghalaya, India, profound changes in environmental subjectivitieswere found among the people in the area. New regulations, changes in the environment, raisedawareness, and changed practices have turned forests into an entity seen as important for protection.Using a governmentality framework, the objectives and rationalities of forest protection have beeninternalized among the population. Further, the material characteristics of nature was found to be anaspect in subject formation. This thesis argues that local attitudes towards conservation correspondto changes beyond governance structures that ought to be taken under consideration for why peoplecome to perceive the environment as they do.

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