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Expanding the concept and practice of protected areas? A Brazilian take on convivial conservation.

Henyo T. Barretto Filho (University of Brasília, Brazil)



The notion of convivial conservation emerged, among other issues, to overcome both the dichotomies constitutive of the naturalist ontology that impregnate much of conservationism and the capture of mainstream conservation by the neoliberal configuration. Given Brazil’s longstanding and complex historical experiences with indigenous lands, extractivist reserves and other types of protected areas (in its broadest sense), one could argue that engaging with convivial conservation would be misleading and not worth the effort. In line with this understanding, Brazil would already have its different management categories of sustainable use protected areas, and its own tradition of “life territories” and/or “territories of diversity”, not needing further justification – even more so when it comes to a proposal (like convivial conservation) that emerged from the narrow field of the conservation debate. In this presentation, I will explore what we could gain in dealing with convivial conservation to broaden our understanding of processes at play in the management of protected areas in Brazil. I will focus both on conservation tools (a central feature in Illich’s inspirational work on conviviality) at different scales (including protected areas both as hybrid artifacts and tools in themselves), and on the (re)construction of social relations in ways that allow human (and beyond human) collectives to lead good, whole, and meaningful lives.

Henyo T. Barretto Fº is professor at the Department of Anthropology of the University of Brasília, Brazil. Formerly he taught at the Department of Social Sciences of the University of Amazonas (UFAM) and worked as a program manager in an NGO fostering the institutional strengthening of local communities’ associations and leaders for socioenvironmental rights, and conservation of biodiversity in the Amazon and the Cerrado. He coordinated the Brazilian Association of Anthropology (ABA) Indigenous Affairs Commission and represented ABA in the Genetic Heritage Management Council of the Ministry of the Environment. Recently he joined the Science Panel for the Amazon (SPA) under the auspices of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (https://www.theamazonwewant.org/). His prior investigations focused on ethnogenesis and identity processes, protected areas and indigenous land policies, and the political ecology of conservation and development. His ongoing post-doctoral project links different strands of his previous research and professional experiences. See also: http://dan.unb.br/pt/menu-para-pessoas/henyo-trindade-barretto-filho.


13 January 2023
12.00-14.00 (CET)

Hörsaal XII (Main Building)
University of Cologne