Conservation as territorial securitization: State (re)making in the buffer zone of Chitwan National Park, Nepal

Authors: Yogesh Dongol*, Florida International University
Topics: Human-Environment Geography, Cultural and Political Ecology, Environmental Science
Keywords: Securitization, Militarization, Violence, territorialization, Conservation, National Park
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Delaware A, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The militarization of nature conservation is now a significant issue in critical political ecological studies because of its contradiction with community-based conservation approach and its linkages to state’s territorial practices, threats of physical violence, and the criminalization of people and subsistence practices. I focus on the politics of (in)securities at a different scale in Chitwan National Park and its buffer zone space in order to question the intensification of militarization and surveillance, normalization of violence on people and the political effects of security discourses. The paper builds on and draws from political ecology of territorialization and securitization literature to interpret the ways central state asserts its territorial authority through nature conservation. My analysis shows that global and national security discourses related to terrorism intersect with security and risk discourses of wildlife poaching in protected area and buffer zone of Nepal. These discourses of (in)security emerged in the contexts of the global war on terrorism (post 9/11) and Maoist insurgency in Nepal eventually shaped and normalized green militarization and violence. While some scholars have tangentially related these practices as the part of state formation, I argue that reterritorialization, surveillance, and a threat of violence associated with securitization of conservation territories are central practices and processes by which central state control land and resources.

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