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Title: Assembling the value of nature : a performative analysis of English biodiversity offsetting and the DEFRA pilot study
Author: Carver, Louise Emily
ISNI:       0000 0004 7660 4548
Awarding Body: Birkbeck, University of London
Current Institution: Birkbeck (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis explores the UK Government's Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs' (DEFRA) 2-year pilot study into biodiversity offsetting (BDO) in England. The objective is to investigate the socio-technical assemblages of biodiversity offsetting to examine what it means to value biodiversity in practice, how the ensuing values materialise and with what effects. The thesis undertakes a multi-sited investigation of the DEFRA pilot study. Firstly I explore the origins of the BDO assemblage focussing on two of its critical elements, the policy standard of 'no net loss' of biodiversity and the central calculative device, the DEFRA metric. I contextualise these conceptual and calculative technologies within the wider socio-political milieus in which they were conceived, circulated and subsequently took effect. The next three chapters present case studies built through diachronic empirical engagements with three sites of the DEFRA pilot. These chapters trace the assemblages of actual BDO negotiations, efforts to value biodiversity by actors in-situ, and the tensions that threaten these processes. Lastly, I explore the value/s conflicts appearing in these case studies through an empirical investigation of the BDO dispute as it played out at the Business and Biodiversity Offsetting Programme (BBOP) conference in London in June 2014. I argue for an understanding of value making in conservation as a performative project through which the values of nature are actively constructed and assembled via social, political and technical processes that can be documented empirically. I emphasise that biodiversity value does not therefore exist waiting to be captured but is actively performed through the assemblages and practices of BDO. The thesis concludes by discussing the implications of a valuation approach in conservation noting the necessary occlusions this sustains and the important changes to biodiversity conservation policy and practice it signals.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available