The marketization of African wildlife encounter in safari tourism, conservation volunteering and trophy hunting
Antje Schlottmann, University of Frankfurt
Olivier Graefe, University of Fribourg
This panel seeks to excavate implications of the marketization of African wildlife encounter from various perspectives.
African wildlife has long been seen as a material resource in form of ivory, skins, trophies, or meat and has been integrated in capitalist market development even before colonial times. In the late 20th century, however, social disapproval pushed this market and marketization practices, at least partly, underground. Moreover, under conditions of discourses such as sustainability, biodiversity and wildlife conservation, the market induced depletion of wildlife in certain regions or of particular species led to an establishment of parks and reserves. Yet, today we see a well-accepted and growing market of wildlife encounter, which is accompanied by an increasing privatization of formerly common goods. This market is dominated by private entrepreneurs and companies but also by nature conservation NGOs and local communities. Wildlife conservation itself has turned into a source of profit, with “encounter” as the new competitive value. Parks and reserves transformed into tourist attractions and the choice of products based on this value includes safari tourism, conservation volunteering and (legal) trophy hunting. The trade for African wildlife “worth experiencing/watching/hunting” seems to be driven by material and mental image-work and emerges in form of auctions and sells by catalogue for hunting concessions, trophies as well as life animals for the purpose of breeding and wildlife watching in private game reserves and national parks.
We seek papers with either theoretical or empirical focus on the marketization of African wildlife encounter from various perspectives, that help to excavate driving forces and future implications.
This could imply work on:
- discourses and practices of wildlife management
- changing human–animal relationships induced by the market value given to (particular) species.
- practices of visualization in traditional media and/or social networks that influence encounter values of particular species.