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Beyond the Lens of Conservation: Malagasy and Swiss Imaginations of One Another

Keller, Eva

978 1 78533 522 8
List price(s):
34.95 USD
24.00 GBP

Publication date:
1 March 2017

Short description: 

This ethnography examines how the cooperation between a national park in Madagascar and a Swiss zoo is perceived by ordinary people at either end. One view focuses on power and history, the other on morality and progress. Nature conservation therefore widens the gap between people in the North and South.

Full description: 

The global agenda of Nature conservation has led to the creation of the Masoala National Park in Madagascar and to an exhibit in its support at a Swiss zoo, the centerpiece of which is a mini-rainforest replica. Does such a cooperation also trigger a connection between ordinary people in these two far-flung places? The study investigates how the Malagasy farmers living at the edge of the park perceive the conservation enterprise and what people in Switzerland see when looking towards Madagascar through the lens of the zoo exhibit. It crystallizes that the stories told in either place have almost nothing in common: one focuses on power and history, the other on morality and progress. Thus, instead of building a bridge, Nature conservation widens the gap between people in the North and the South.

Table of contents: 

List of IllustrationsAcknowledgements / FisaoranaNotes on TextIntroductionPART IChapter 1. A Virtual Tour through Little MasoalaChapter 2. Intention and PerceptionChapter 3. Zooming in on MoralityChapter 4. A Kind of PeopleChapter 5. The Coconut SchemaExtract from 'Marrakech' by George OrwellPART IIChapter 6. Living With the Masoala National ParkChapter 7. The Banana Plant and the MoonChapter 8. The Island of the WandererChapter 9. Who Are 'They'?Chapter 10. Historical ReflectionsConclusionReferences


Eva Keller has been carrying out anthropological research in Madagascar since 1998 and is currently a research fellow at the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Zurich. She received her Ph.D. from the London School of Economics in 2002 and is the author of The Road to Clarity.




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