AdvisorSheridan, Thomas E.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe fundamental preoccupations of this research align with emergent literature on neoliberal conservation—understood as an amalgamation of ideology and techniques informed by the premise that natures can only be 'saved' through their submission to capital and its subsequent revaluation in capitalist terms. This literature shift attention "from how nature is used in and through the expansion of capitalism to how nature is conserved in and through the expansion of capitalism" (Büscher et al. 2012:6), thus opening up a new set of anthropological interrogations. To investigate this phenomenon this work centers on the use of sport trophy-hunting as a neoliberal conservation strategy in the Americas, where recent changes in policy and practice mark the creation of wildlife enclosures in the hands of private capital. Despite the fact that these neoliberal reforms in conservation have the capacity "of repositioning community resources within a new system of meaning, altering the material realities of social relations within the community, modifying human-ecological interactions, and introducing new forms of governance" (MacDonald 2005), little systematic research and social analysis has been conducted exploring this phenomenon. Responding to this gap, this doctoral dissertation examines the social effects of market-oriented conservation through extended ethnographic research among the Comcaac (Seri), a former hunting and gathering society living along the coast of the Gulf of California in the Sonoran desert of Northern Mexico. The research documents the bighorn sheep sport trophy-hunting program taking place in Comcaac territory, in order to better understand the processes contributing to the production and performance of indigenous environmental expertise; in turn, this work produces new insights into how morality, individualism and collective effort are affected by neoliberal logics involved in the management of wildlife, while documenting concomitant local renegotiation of power, knowledge and wealth.
Degree ProgramGraduate College