Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationFlorida International U.
Grant numberGr. 9290
Approve DateApril 19, 2016
Project TitleDongol, Yogesh, Florida International U., Miami, FL - To aid research on 'The Cultural Politics of Community Based Conservation in Nepal's Chitwan National Park Buffer Zone,' supervised by Dr. Roderick Neumann
YOGESH DONGOL, then a graduate student at Florida International University, Miami, Florida, was awarded a grant in April 2016 to aid research on ‘The Cultural Politics of Community Based Conservation in Nepal’s Chitwan National Park Buffer Zone,’ supervised by Dr. Roderick Neumann. The research examined the socio-economic and political impacts of community-based conservation initiatives within two communities of Chitwan National Park’s (CNP) buffer zone. The study consisted of 12 months of ethno-historical research in the buffer zones. The study found that the integrated conservation and development initiatives, such as the Park and People and Participatory Conservation Programs of the United Nations Development Program, primarily employed spatial and bio-political strategies. Michel Foucault’s concept of governmentality was employed to categorize such activities in an analysis of ‘conflicts’ between park and people of CNP. Through this analysis, significant contradictions were revealed between the state’s understanding of park and people conflicts and buffer zone residents’ understanding of the fundamental problems of poverty and injustice that they faced. It was further found that conservation experts’ technical solutions largely neglected or simplified these fundamental problems. A central conclusion from the research is that the discourses and practices of economic development and biodiversity conservation, which aimed to benefit local people and nature, produced and reproduced several negative social and ecological outcomes, such as social inequalities and differentiation, reproduction of socio-economic and cultural hierarchies, and the exploitation of people and nature.