"No to the bear" : contested power and truths behind the reintroduction of brown bears in the Pyrenees.

Knight, Tony (2011) "No to the bear" : contested power and truths behind the reintroduction of brown bears in the Pyrenees. Masters thesis, University of Wales, Trinity St David.

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Abstract

“No to the Bear”: Questions of Power and Truths behind the Reintroduction of Brown Bears into the French Pyrenees At this beginning of the twenty-first century, global climate and biodiversity, including human survival, are seriously threatened. Fuelled by culturally constructed anthropocentric ‘needs’, the unrelenting march of neoliberal capitalism dramatically manifests dichotomous views and discourses on the environment and sustainable development. Always complex, and often conflictual, the human-environment relationships which are constructed within this neoliberal paradigm are being seriously challenged. If we are to avert potentially dangerous escalations deriving from such tensions, it is essential that environmental anthropology actively engages in the issues, and confronts the necessary cultural and environmental changes which are already becoming evident. This dissertation examines these issues in the French Pyrenees, where a conservation programme to reintroduce the brown bear is seriously impacting traditional transhumant pastoralism, already menaced by global politico-economic pressures. I explore the potential contribution of Actor- Network Theory (ANT) to the investigation of power, science, and politics by examining the opposing, generally uniform, and largely reified arguments which create a nature-culture conflict. In this way, ANT helps illuminate the otherwise heavily disguised underlying realities which exist/emerge between those who reject the bear’s reintroduction, essentially small-scale farmers and shepherds, and the supporters of the programme who generally have no coherent understanding of the techniques or needs of transhumant farming, or even of mountain life. I argue that governmentimposed systemic solutions will require a more egalitarian and accepting cultural framework which demonstrates a greater valorisation of the natural and social environment, while accepting different understandings of scientific and local truths. In short, it is essential to see through human-animal conflicts to the human-human conflicts hidden behind, and which inevitably get in the way of successful holistic natureculture futures.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Additional Information: Series: Carmarthen / Lampeter Dissertations;10412/266.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Bears, Pyrenees
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DC France
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Q Science > QH Natural history
S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Divisions: Faculties > Faculty of Humanities and Performing Arts > Archaeology, History and Anthropology
Depositing User: John Dalling
Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2014 17:39
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2016 11:34
URI: http://repository.uwtsd.ac.uk/id/eprint/395

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