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Conservation and Globalization: A Study of National Parks and Indigenous Communities from East Africa to South Dakota, 1st Edition

Jim Igoe

  • Published


CONSERVATION AND GLOBALIZATION: A STUDY OF NATIONAL PARKS AND INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES FROM EAST AFRICA TO SOUTH DAKOTA opens with a discussion of these two broad issues as they relate to the author's fieldwork with Maasai herding communities on the margins of Tarangire National Park in Tanzania. It explores different theoretical perspectives on globalization and why both are relevant to the case studies presented. While drawing on examples from specific Maasai communities, the book is more broadly concerned with the historical and contemporary links between these communities and a global system of institutions, ideas, and money. The ecological incompatibility of Western national park-style conservation with East African savanna ecosystems and Maasai resource management practices, are highlighted.

Jim Igoe, University of Colorado, Denver

Jim Igoe is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Colorado at Denver. He received his doctorate in sociocultural anthropology from Boston University in 1999. He has conducted extensive fieldwork in the Arusha region of Tanzania. His research has focused on the formation of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in pastoral communities in general, and the impact of NGOs on Maasai and Barabaig ethnic communities in particular, as well as the complexities of the interaction of international, national and local agendas. Additional research focused on the implementation of community-based conservation projects and the relationship of local people to national parks. Igoe's current teaching and research interests include human ecosystems and the limits of the western conservation models; community ecological anthropology; community conservation; developmental anthropology with an emphasis on NGOs; and the history of anthropological theory.
  • The case study challenges students to critically think about popular notions of conservation, wilderness, and "traditional" indigenous peoples.
  • Rather than focusing on other cultures and what makes them seem strange to us, the book emphasizes Western assumptions about nature and our place in the universe, and why these might seem strange to other cultures. It also addresses the ways in which this particular Western worldview has been imposed on other cultures through international conservation and development programs.
  • Globalization as a system of discourses and material processes that have impacted peoples' lives in every part of the world�from indigenous communities in Alaska to Zimbabwe�are examined.
  • The methodology of multi-sited ethnography allows students to see how distant global processes like the Soviet Collapse, are able to influence something as seemingly unrelated as conservation initiatives in rural African communities.

Conservation and Globalization: A Study of National Parks and Indigenous Communities from East Africa to South Dakota


1. Seeing Conservation through the Global Lens.
2. A Clash of Two Conservation Models.
3. Fortress Conservation: A Social History of National Parks.
4. The Maasai NGO Movement and Tanzania's Transition from Fortress Conservation to Community-Based Conservation.
5. National Parks and Indigenous Communities: A Global Perspective.

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