Business, Biodiversity and New ‘Fields’ of Conservation: The World Conservation Congress and the Renegotiation of Organisational Order

  • Kenneth Iain MacDonald
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Anthropology of Sustainability book series (PSAS)


Biodiversity conservation, in practise, is defined through the institutionalised association of individuals, organisations, institutions, bodies of knowledge and interests. Events like the World Conservation Congress (WCC) constitute political sites where much of that institutionalisation is rendered legible and where struggles over the organisational order of conservation are acted out. Over the past decade one source of struggle has been the role of private sector actors and markets. This chapter treats the WCC as a site where tension over market-based mechanisms of conservation becomes visible and where it becomes possible to watch durable institutional arrangements form and enter the standard operational practise of organisations such as the IUCN. Here, I build on recent work on the performative aspects of governance and analyse the WCC as an integral mechanism for achieving a renegotiated ‘order’ of conservation with ‘private sector engagement’ as a core operational practise. This chapter describes how this performative work is predicated, in part, on the act of meeting; it goes on to discuss the ways meetings serve both as sites for the formation of associations and as vehicles that privilege certain positions in renegotiating organisational order, under which the interests of capital accumulation receive an unparalleled degree of access and consideration in conservation planning and practise.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kenneth Iain MacDonald
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Geography and Center for Diaspora and Transnational StudiesUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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