Conservation Jujutsu, or How Conservation NGOs Use Market Forces to Save Nature from Markets in Southern Chile

  • George Holmes
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Anthropology of Sustainability book series (PSAS)


Much of the anthropological literature on conservation nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) in recent years has explored their interactions with markets and corporations. A key part of this debate has considered the extent to which NGOs see using market mechanisms and engaging with corporations as a positive force for conservation, or as a necessary evil in a market- and corporation-dominated world, or a mix of the two positions. The purpose of this chapter is to explore these debates through a review of the work of conservation NGOs in Chile. In the last few decades, two key features of Chile’s political economy have been the dominance of market mechanisms and an economy built on the export of natural resources, controlled by a few firms and industries. In this time, international conservation NGOs have greatly increased their presence in Chile, with much of their work focussing on establishing and supporting private protected areas. This engagement has been facilitated by regulations that facilitate purchase of land by outside investors, measures originally introduced to encourage foreign investment in industries that exploited natural resources. Measures originally created to facilitate environmentally damaging industries, such as forestry and mining, are now used by those seeking to preserve nature. This raises the question of whether these NGOs see markets as a positive force for conservation in southern Chile, or whether they are engaged in an act of conservation Jujutsu—using mechanisms created to facilitate markets in environmentally damaging industries to save the environment.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • George Holmes
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Earth and the EnvironmentUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK

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