Review of Naturalezas en conflicto [Natures in Conflict] by José A. Cortés Vázquez

Raga, Ferran Pons | from Multimedia Library Collection:

Raga, Ferran Pons. Review of Naturalezas en conflicto. Conservación ambiental y enfrentamiento social en el Parque Natural Cabo de Gata-Níjar by José A. Cortés Vázquez. Conservation & Society 14, no. 3 (2016): 291-92.

Cortés Vázquez, José A. Naturalezas en conflicto. Conservación ambiental y enfrentamiento social en el Parque Natural Cabo de Gata-Níjar. Valencia: Germania, 2012 (ISBN: 978-84-15660- 29-3). 

In recent years, concerns on environmental degradation and politics have been accompanied by a re-thinking of human-nature relationships. In this domain, social sciences have been making a strong effort to contribute to a deeper understanding of the logics behind individual and collective actions that precede and follow these policies. It seems clear that anthropology and, specifically, the ethnographic approach have taken an important role in this analytical process. By working on a local and detailed scale, this approach has proved to be invaluable to reveal the different voices that speak about a single place in a specific time. This multivocality (Vaccaro 2006) emerges simultaneously through a single conflict, and by doing so, it is possible to assert that different readings of the same space articulate different social groups in a time-dependent manner.

A good way to introduce this book is by dissecting its title: Natures in conflict. It provides a contribution to recent, but nonetheless, necessary critiques on the monolithic and dualistic perspective of the domain of Nature within the “Western” world. Firstly, “natures” as it is used here, in small print and in a plural form, implies a diverse entity instead of a unique and singular ontology. This is followed by the word “conflict” which serves both as a methodological tool that entails a process-based approach, and a theoretical contribution, meaning that not only is there more than “one” nature, but that we should also analyse its diversity through the different voices that engage in simultaneous and conflictive dialogues within a determined space-time dimension. Therefore, nature(s) become dialogical and frontier categories since they are expressed and analysed from a discursive and conflictive perspective. Insofar as nature(s) are understood as a discourse, the linkage between those two generic domains, that is to say, nature and society, becomes an imbricated relationship where both of them attain and refer to a single time-space dimension. (Excerpt  from book review)

© Ferran Pons Raga 2016. Conservation & Society is available online only and is published under a Creative Commons license (CC BY 2.5).