Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 503527
Title ‘Rhino poaching is out of control!’ Violence, race and the politics of hysteria in online conservation
Author(s) Büscher, Bram
Source Environment and Planning A 48 (2016)5. - ISSN 0308-518X - p. 979 - 998.
DOI https://doi.org/10.1177/0308518X16630988
Department(s) Sociology of Development and Change
WASS
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2016
Keyword(s) conservation - hysteria - politics - Rhino poaching - South Africa - violence
Abstract

The rhino-poaching crisis in South Africa, according to many concerned citizens, conservation organisations and governments, is ‘out of control’. With over 1000 rhinos poached in each of 2013, 2014 and 2015, the crisis has triggered a massive response, much of which heavily depends on online tools to raise funds and awareness. The paper analyses emotive discourses and imaginaries as part of dominant online responses to the rhino-poaching crisis and found that these are predominantly espoused by whites and show a worrying penchant towards (extreme) violence. Building on a theorisation of the links between race, nature, affect and control, the paper hypothesises that these responses reflect a ‘politics of hysteria’. This politics captures the employment of affective and emotive expressions as a way to demand control over a situation ‘out of control’ in the context of historical and contemporary South African political economies of racial inequality. And as these expressions often tend towards exaggerated or extreme violence, they become potent forms of political mobilisation and intervention. New media are a crucial ingredient of this potency, and the paper concludes that this opens up important new questions about the relations between race, nature and violence.

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