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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2013

Environmental citizenship, gender, and the emergence of a new conservation politics

Fischer, Harry W.; Chhatre, Ashwini


Vibrant protests against restrictions imposed by the Dhauladhar Wildlife Sanctuary (DWLS) in Himachal Pradesh, India have galvanized area residents to protect local forests. In this paper, we examine how local opposition has become entangled with environmental values and practice, culminating in the decision of a women's group to embark on a local management system for forests inside the sanctuary. We use this case to highlight two key themes that will likely transform the practice of conservation in the coming years. First, greater enfranchisement of marginal groups, especially women, within democratic politics will activate new channels to agitate against restrictive conservation regimes and, in some instances, may engender space to envision more democratic forms of resource management. Second, the increasing valence of environmental values within society is generating new forms of environmental awareness among resource users. Together, these two factors will give rise to a new conservation politics through the production and performance of environmental citizenship. In the case of OWLS, political action against restrictive conservation has harnessed local agency toward a collective decision to protect and manage forest resources. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Protected areas; Citizenship; Gender; Conservation politics; Environmental values; Common pool resource management; Feminist environmentalism; Feminist political ecology

Published in

2013, Volume: 50, pages: 10-19

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Human Geography
    Environmental Sciences
    Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)

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