Investigating the Consistency of a Pro-market Perspective Amongst Conservationists

  • Libby Blanchard
  • Chris G. Sandbrook
  • Janet A. Fisher
  • Bhaskar Vira
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Anthropology of Sustainability book series (PSAS)


While biodiversity conservation has had a long-standing relationship with markets, the recent past has seen a proliferation of novel market-based instruments in conservation such as payments for ecosystem services. Even though several conservation organisations have aligned themselves with this ‘neoliberal’ shift, relatively few studies have investigated the extent to which this move resonates with the values held by conservation professionals. An earlier study of the views of conservationists participating in the 2011 Society for Conservation Biology conference found both supportive and critical perspectives on the use of markets in conservation (Sandbrook et al. 2013b). This chapter investigates the consistency of the perspectives identified in the earlier study by applying the same Q methodology survey to a group of Cambridge, UK-based conservationists. Although both studies reveal supporting and more sceptical perspectives on the use of markets in conservation, the pro-market perspective in each sample is nearly identical. This finding provides empirical confirmation of a growing body of research that suggests that a relatively consistent set of pro-market perspectives have permeated the thinking of decision makers and staffs of conservation organisations. It also lends some support to the suggestion that a transnational conservation elite may be driving this uptake of market approaches.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Libby Blanchard
    • 1
  • Chris G. Sandbrook
    • 2
    • 1
  • Janet A. Fisher
    • 3
  • Bhaskar Vira
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK
  2. 2.UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre CambridgeCambridgeUK
  3. 3.School of GeosciencesUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghUK

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