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Title: Wilderness restoration and animal reintroduction : ideas, discourses and policies
Author: Arts, Koen
ISNI:       0000 0004 2726 1921
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis aims to achieve a better understanding of: (1) theoretical aspects of humannature relationships; and (2) socio-political dimensions of nature conservation practices. It is the result of social scientific research, and employs, on the basis of a ‘moderate’ social constructivist frame, a multi- (and partly inter-) disciplinary approach. Within the central theme of nature conservation, the concept of wilderness is used as a lens for study, with a specific research focus on ‘rewilding’ and ‘animal reintroduction’ in Scotland and the Netherlands. In the overarching context of the two central research aims, the four main chapters in this work have been developed, and are presented, as stand-alone parts. With respect to research aim 1, the relationship between rewilding and animal reintroduction is examined (Chapter 2). The main finding is that if animal reintroduction, as part of rewilding, is understood and implemented in a tentative manner, it can be an inspiring example of an essentially non-controlling human interaction with nature. Chapter 5 is a cultural-historical exploration of the concept of wilderness and of a Dutch national park. It establishes that paradoxes are an important element in the Western fascination with wilderness, and they are therefore an essential focus if contemporary societies want to restore their relationship with the wild. With regard to research aim 2, a discourse analysis is conducted of documents supporting animal reintroductions (Chapter 3). A crucial finding is that rhetoric and argumentation, in expert documents that inform environmental decision-making, become increasingly ‘reflexive’. In Chapter 4, political decision-making on Scottish animal reintroductions is researched in the light of late-modern governance shifts. It is found that these new modes of governance can actually undermine the very democratic principles that they seek to implement in the first place.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Wildlife reintroduction ; Conservation biology