Seminar: Reassessing fortress conservation? New media and the politics of distinction in Kruger National Park


Video duration: 
1 h 34 min.

The Africam App Is On The Way




The idea of protected areas as ‘fortress conservation’ has long been debated and heavily criticized. In practice, however, the paradigm is alive and well and has, in some cases and especially due to rapid increases in poaching, seen major reinforcements. This seminar contributes to discussions that aim to reassess fortress conservation ideas and practices by analyzing how new online media are changing the politics of access to and control over increasingly militarized protected areas. Focusing on South Africa’s Kruger National Park, one of the most iconic and mediated conservation areas globally, the speaker argues that new media such as online groups, webcams and mobile phone apps encourage a new politics of social distinction in relation to the park and what it represents. These politics of distinction lead to complex new ways in which the boundaries of ‘fortress Kruger’ are rendered (more) permeable and (more) restrictive at the same time. The speaker concludes that it is precisely through rendering park boundaries more permeable that new media technologies help to reinforce the racialised and unequal hierarchies of the social order that fortress conservation was built on.

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Date, time and location

02 April 2015
15.30 - 17.00
Pieter de la Courtgebouw / Faculty of Social Sciences, Wassenaarseweg 52, 2333 AK Leiden
Room 1A22 (first floor)