Lecture Esther Marijnen: Governing nature, countering insurgencies?

04-05-2018 from 10:00 to 11:30
Paddenhoek 1, 9000 Gent, lokaal 1.3
Conflict Research Group
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Debates in Conflict & Development: rethinking statehood & governance

Lecture Esther Marijnen: Governing nature, countering insurgencies?


This lecture focusses on how counterinsurgency and conservation have been merged in the case of Virunga National Park in the east of the DR Congo, this part of the lecture is based on an article I published with Judith Verweijen in the Journal of Peasant Studies. In this article we show how the militarisation of conservation in Virunga fuel, rather than mitigate, the dynamics feeding into armed mobilisation. I will as well discuss other national parks where similar dynamics can be studied, and the larger literature on ‘green militarisation’. To conclude, I will discuss the importance to also analyse the perception and objectives of multiple rebel groups that control areas in or around protected areas - to gain a full understanding of the nexus between counterinsurgency and conservation.


Dr Esther Marijnen focuses on the study of violent conflict, nature conservation and public authority from a political ecology perspective, with a specific focus on eastern DR Congo. From March 2018 onwards she will be working at Ghent University as a post-doctoral researcher.  During her PhD research she analysed the multi-scalar politics of violent conflict and conservation in Virunga National Park, DRC. The results of her PhD work informed various articles published in peer-reviewed journals. In her current research she explores how different rebel groups govern nature, and how they gain and enact public authority through various commodity chains, such as of charcoal, fish and other non-timber forest products.