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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 20  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 268-277

Conservation Social Scientists in Transnational Institutions: Negotiating Hierarchies of Expertise

Department of Anthropology, American University, Washington, DC, USA

Correspondence Address:
C Anne Claus
Department of Anthropology, American University, Washington, DC
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/cs.cs_23_21

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For decades, social scientists have been advocating for more social science in transnational conservation. Yet they confront considerable structural and epistemological challenges as they integrate in the organisations that hire them, since they face dual challenges of being numerical minorities and occupying low rungs on environmentalist knowledge hierarchies. This article analyses the labour of conservation social scientists employed in transnational non-governmental organisations (NGOs) through the lenses of interdisciplinarity and expertise to elucidate how they attempt to effect changes in their institutions. Conservation social scientists find themselves collaborating in asymmetrical interdisciplinarity and, therefore, they engage in extra hidden labour as they seek to disrupt hegemonic ways of conceptualising and practising conservation. These findings suggest that institutions must continue to make more meaningful bureaucratic, structural, and ideological changes if they truly aim to 'mainstream' the human dimensions of conservation.

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