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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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RESEARCH ARTICLE
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 20  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 345-357

Environmentalities of Coexistence with Wolves in the Cantabrian Mountains of Spain


1 Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London; Anthropology Department, University College London, London, UK; Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
2 Consultores en Biologia de la Conservación, Madrid, Spain
3 Department of Sociology and Communication, University of A Coruña, Coruña, Spain
4 Biodiversity Research Institute (CSIC–Oviedo University–Principality of Asturias), Mieres, Spain
5 Research Unit of Biodiversity, Oviedo University, Mieres, Spain
6 Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, London, UK

Correspondence Address:
Agnese Marino
Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London; Anthropology Department, University College London, London; Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/cs.cs_66_21

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Coexistence between humans and large carnivores is mediated by diverse values and interactions. We focus on four sites in the Cantabrian Mountains of Spain with a history of continuous wolf presence to examine how perceptions of coexistence vary across contexts. We conducted semi-structured and informal interviews with livestock farmers (n = 271), hunters (n = 157), and local community members (n = 60) to collect quantitative and qualitative data on people's experiences of coexistence with wolves. We use an environmentality framework to analyse approaches to wolf governance across sites and explore how local resource users perceive, negotiate, and respond to different governance approaches. Our analysis is firstly structured around coexistence subjectivities associated with pastoralist and hunter cultures. These encompass ambivalent and multi-layered relations founded on notions of reciprocity with nature and on resource users' roles as producers and land stewards. Secondly, we explore encounters between local cultures, interests, and environmental regulations in the context of different site-based environmentalities. The framework we adopt enables coexistence to be conceived as a space of competing knowledges and practices, arising from everyday embodied interactions with wolves and the cultural politics through which local communities negotiate different ways of governing, knowing, and relating to nature.


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