Using a practice lens to explore the social dimensions of biodiversity conservation

Thomas, Sarah (2017) Using a practice lens to explore the social dimensions of biodiversity conservation. PhD thesis, UNSPECIFIED.

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Consideration of the ‘social dimensions’ is increasingly gaining currency within the conservation community. A growing body of literature indicates the importance and influence people and societal practices have on the effectiveness of biodiversity conservation. As such, conservationists and their organisations are being urged to embed more social components within their projects and programmes. However, there is self-reported lack of understanding, skills and confidence by many conservationists about the scope and nature of this social dimension within the biodiversity conservation context. This thesis aims to recast the social dimensions of conservation. Specifically, to explore its boundaries and how current understanding can be supplemented using a social practice theoretical lens. It aims to strengthen conceptual understanding and develop pathways of practical application within conservation organisations. This research was undertaken within the context of my own institution, the Zoological Society of London which is a UK zoo-based conservation organisation. The research was exploratory in nature due to the complexity and relatively undefined status of the social dimensions within biodiversity conservation. A mixed method approach was employed using key informant interviews and an online survey instrument to depict and describe practices within the social dimensions of conservation, and to gather perceptions about these practices. The thematic results offer both a recasting of the definition of the social dimensions of conservation and a conceptual model of the ‘ecologies of practices’ at the Zoological Society of London. These new knowledge resources provide a basis to foster further understanding of how people and their practices fit into the conservation landscape. They also offer recommendations for both the Zoological Society of London and the wider biodiversity conservation community, to build individual and organisational capacity towards the social dimensions through future research, training and organisational development.

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Thesis (PhD)
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17 Sep 2018 09:32
Last Modified:
16 Sep 2023 02:47