Anthropology of Conservation NGOs: Learning from a Sectoral Approach to the Study of NGOs

  • Dan Brockington
  • Katherine Scholfield
  • Richard Ladle
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Anthropology of Sustainability book series (PSAS)


The anthropology of conservation nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) tends to be dominated by individual studies of the work of several organisations. There are good reasons for this—a great deal can be learned from such an approach and anthropologists are well trained and placed to provide the sorts of rich institutional ethnographies that can be so informative. Acknowledging these strengths, this chapter makes the case for combining individual studies with work on sectors and networks of NGOs. It illustrates the argument from the authors’ experience of conducting a subcontinental-wide survey of conservation NGOs in sub-Saharan Africa and some of Dan Brockington’s subsequent work on celebrity advocacy in development NGOs. This chapter discusses the limits of this approach, the benefits and the sorts of questions and enquiries it makes possible—as well as some of the more provocative findings.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dan Brockington
    • 1
  • Katherine Scholfield
    • 2
  • Richard Ladle
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute for International DevelopmentUniversity of SheffieldSheffieldUK
  2. 2.Synchronicity EarthLondonUK
  3. 3.Institute of Biological Sciences and HealthUniversidade Federal de AlagoasMaceióBrazil

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