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New Technological Interventions in Conservation Conflicts: Countering Emotions and Contested Knowledge

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Audrey Verma



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


New technologies have increasingly featured in environmental conservation conflicts. We examined the deployment of imaging devices such as sonar equipment and cameras to survey the Fal estuary in Cornwall, UK. Due to heavy use of these waters, there have been several disputes coalescing around protected marine features, including the estuary’s rare maerl beds. A comparison of two cases, scallop dredging and docks development, showed technical instruments being deployed to produce information about the marine environment as evidence to inform decision-making. The use of imaging devices stimulated political action and was regarded as a move away from emotion-based decision-making towards desired objectivity. Simultaneously, however, the process of deploying these devices was challenged and there was recognition that the resultant information could be used to construct the estuary as a politically charged space. Thus, rather than clarifying and resolving contentious issues, technological interventions generated new baselines for knowledge contestation and amplified ongoing battles for credibility and authority.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Verma A, Van der Wal R, Fischer A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Human Ecology

Year: 2017

Volume: 45

Issue: 5

Pages: 686-695

Print publication date: 01/10/2017

Online publication date: 11/09/2017

Acceptance date: 01/09/2017

Date deposited: 13/09/2017

ISSN (print): 0300-7839

ISSN (electronic): 1572-9915

Publisher: Springer


DOI: 10.1007/s10745-017-9936-z


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