«1. Introduction Over the last twenty years, conservation has become a central analytical focus in the social sciences. This review article brings ...»
Weber (2011 ) and Gellner (1983) describe the emergence of the modern nation-state as the consolidation of an impersonal bureaucratic machine that claims, on behalf of the citizenry, a monopoly over key collective jurisdictions (law, violence, education, amongst others). The fact that sovereignty has moved from a monarch to a national collectivity (the citizenry) in most cases, is what provides legitimacy to this claim. This monopolistic claim by the emerging modern nation state to the control of territory and natural resources translates into the imposition of a specific form of governmentality (Dean 1999; Foucault 2007,
2008) based on national territoriality (Delaney 2005; Hannah 2000; Sack 1986). A form of government focused on conservation and natural resource management emerges (Agrawal 2005; Büsher and Dressler 2007; Sivaramakrishnan 1999). Natural resource management is assessed by specialists, by scientists who, on behalf of the public institutions, generate knowledge and decide from the perspective of
managerial or political needs (Fairhead and Leach 1996; Escobar 1998; Guha 2000). These specialists interact with local people and from this interaction new regimes of nature emerge (Moore 1998b; Mathews 2011). The state, imbricated with the market, develops new forms and practices of governance (Carrier and West 2009).
Claims of heritage and global importance were also used in the past by the colonial administrations, to justify their territorial interventions in the name of ecological preservation and management (Griffiths and Robin 1997; Grove 1995). Imperial expansion went hand in hand with a development of managerial rationalities in tropical environments (Mackenzie 1988; Pels 1997; Rangajaran 1996). Nature became a cultural signifier that went beyond national boundaries.
The market: or, the economics of conservation Not surprisingly, this process of revalorization of nature into a collective asset and as part of public heritage quickly attracted the attention of economic interests. Economic interests, in turn, redefine heritage as any valuable environment capable of generating revenue via tourism. Natural heritage becomes yet another commodity within a large (global) market (Hayden 2003; Woods 2007). The commoditization of natural heritage and the valorization of nature by state-directed conservation practices are in competition with other (local) uses, such as ranching, agriculture, mining, tourism, or forestry. All are at a landscape scale, at which conservation occurs. Protection, then, is implemented in opposition or in articulation with some of these possible uses of the land.
Environmental economics has also helped reconceptualise nature as giving potential ecological services, gains, and costs. This strain of conservationist thought has put a price on nature, attempting to prove the cost of its degradation (Kosoy and Corbera 2010) or justify its preservation. At a certain level the environment has been rebranded, becoming a 'pool' of natural resources (Sullivan 2009). In a market
situation, these resources and their value can be traded against other things. Nowhere this logic is more clearly used than in the REDD program where climate change is the master narrative that articulates the possibilities for trading.
The logics informing public patrimonialization and the commoditization of nature are, in fact, similar and connected to the intellectual and economic framework of industrialization. In the industrialized societies of the late nineteenth century, gradually specializing in mass production and enduring higher levels of urban pollution, nature became a scarce and remote element: an element that the affluent layers of these societies soon started to appreciate (Plumb 1973). Over the centuries the wealthy strata of these industrial societies, the leisure class, consumed in livelihoods where the investment of capital was only marginally devoted to subsistence, and was in large part intended to signal status through taste (Veblen  1998; Bourdieu 1984). The Fordist revolution of the 1920s democratized access to goods, making possible a society of mass consumption (Cross 1996; Galbraith 1993). The creation of a consumerist society also democratized and opened access to nature as yet another good. Tourism became a generalized phenomenon, as a main sector of a leisure economy that dominated nature as a contemplative commodity. Nature, which has always been at the center of the disciplines and practices of the self (Foucault 1988), became not only a place of relaxation or excitement, but also a desirable 'thing' worth paying money for. Important tourist infrastructure networks and notions of beauty and health associated with environmentally-based leisure were created in these early moments of modern tourism. The Fordist revolution and the development of the idea that mass production should be accompanied by an equal mass consumption, resulted in an opening of the leisure economy to other social groups (MacCannell 1999). Mass production, of cars or tourist sites, has an inherent homogenizing – totalitarian – effect on taste and behavior at productive but also consumption levels (Horkheimer and Adorno 2007). This 'massification' and 'democratization' of leisure access coincided with the post Second World War economic boom (Bell 1973). Once nature was integrated as a good into the market, it experienced a process of fetishization, an abstraction as both image and value (Carrier and Macleod 2005).
After the 1960s and 1970s many enriched urban areas started to pay attention to the idea of quality of life, to the need to deal with pollution, and to protect the environment. The birth and consolidation of modern environmentalism as a mainstream ideological feature of Western societies coincides with the emergence of a society in which assuring food and shelter was no longer a significant struggle. Western societies do not enter into a postmodern age á la Lyotard (1984) or Jameson (1992) that, in a paradigmatic shift, questions the main tenets of modernity (state, market, monetization, mass production and consumption). If anything, these societies accelerate their hegemonic model and enter into a hyper-consumptive modern era (Charles and Lipovetsky 2005; Lipovetsky 2007; Virilio 2000). Industrialization is externalized to peripheral regions or developing countries where labor costs are lower and environmental regulations minimal. Post-industrial societies become dominated by post-materialistic values (Giddens 1995; Inglehart 1997). Affluence, in postscarcity situations and among the elite classes, generates post-materialistic priorities including different forms of leisure and environmentalism (Galbraith 1999). Hyper-modernity is dominated by the services industries, including leisure (Nazareth 2007). Environmentalism, not in its current contemplative form, but as sustainable use of the local resources of the community, was (and still often is) found across the globe (Guha 1999; Martinez-Alier 2002).
A commercial potential has pushed conservation, a field traditionally dominated by public institutions, science and collective heritage ideals, into a dialogue with private operators (Arsel and Büscher 2012;
Pawliczek and Sullivan 2011). In this neoliberal approach nature is extracted from the public domain and becomes yet another commodity interacting in a multifactorial market in which conservation, extraction, or gentrification have similar standing (Igoe and Brockington 2007). Needless to say, the irruption on the conservation effort of economically powerful external actors with maximizing goals – in the capitalist sense unbounded by public institutional limitations has increased the potential for local disempowerment and environmental injustice (Büscher et al. 2011; MacDonald 2010). This neoliberalization of the conservationist market unfolds amidst an emerging multiplicity of social agents: the national public institutions develop intricate networks and relationships with the international NGO complex, and the corporations interacting with them (Corson 2011; Sullivan 2012; Zanotti 2011).
The explanation of the transformation of nature into a fetishized commodity cannot be explained without a parallel discussion of changes to its image and the message that it conveys. Nature cannot be integrated as a commodity into the market without a message, a selling point. The integration of the "natural experience" and all that it selectively entails in "the habitus" (Bourdieu 1984) of different social and cultural levels of the Western societies has occurred through the slow massaging of the idea of nature. The idea has progressed from an irrelevant category to becoming a fundamental individual and collective right, from a place of danger to a place of leisure and pleasure, spectacle and alienation (Debord 1995), simulated experience (Baudillard 1994), desire (Deleuze and Guattari 1983), and nostalgia (Lipovetsky 2007).
Taste: culture and conservation The emergence of the western environmental paradigm at the end of the nineteenth century gradually transformed certain natural environments, at home and abroad, from wasteland to a valuable collective good (Arnold 1996; Dwyer 1996; Wark 1994). Nature went from hostile background to national patrimony or consumable item. It was subject to both narratives: commoditization and the national imagination, and, consequently, entered into the field of public policy activity (Cronon 1983; Ellen and Fukui 1996). The cultural transformations connected with this shift in taste took place at several levels. Landscape was reconceptualised (Cronon 1996; Darby 2000; Greenough and Tsing 2003), but also other actors and resources, for instance animals, are no longer considered vermin or utilitarian creatures, but were reshaped as icons (Philo and Wilbert 2000; Whatmore and Thorne 1998; Wolch and Emel 1998).
These taste changes, combined with an expansion of consumerism, allowed nature to become a commodity of a first order liable to generate benefits through tourism, trade, and the industry of leisure in general (Baudrillard 1998, Cross 1993; Stearns 2001). Patrimonialized nature became a commodity susceptible to intrinsic value and into the market. In a globalized world, the expansion, or the communication of productive, political, consumerist values back and forth between the global north and south results in international unequal distributions of wealth (Harvey 1989; Smith 2008) but also generates cultural dialogues (Gupta 1998; Hannerz 1996). Hypermodern capitalism is about capital mobility –the never-ending quest for lower costs of production – and cultural expectations associated with the ephemeral connections to international market economies (Ferguson 1999; Holmes 1989; Vaccaro 2010).
This political and economic process has also had symbolic consequences for the societies that have adopted the modern conservationist paradigm. The analysis of conservation requires an understanding of the territorial, institutional, and cultural assemblage that it promotes (Escobar 2008; Latour 2007; Ong and Collier 2004; Sassen 2006). Modern states are of urban origin and the majority of their constituencies are urban too. The values that they upheld, then, are the ones that dominate amongst urban elites and urban populations, their constituencies and beneficiaries. The legitimacy behind public conservation is dualistic: it defends a collective good, and it is informed by socially dominant and culturally hegemonic values.
Environmentalism is one of these ideological characteristics that slowly, starting at the end of the nineteenth century, spread until it became mainstream (Guha 1999). Elites in the Third World emulate the trends proposed by First World elites. The environmental values of the elites in turn marginalize cultural identities in subaltern groups (Murray Li 2007; Scott 1998). Interventions into the non-urban areas of the nation and the world, comparable to internal or external colonialism, achieved legitimacy by the use of specialized, scientific (ergo rational) knowledge, allegedly superior to its local counterpart (Fisher 2002; Guha 1997;
Robbins 2000). This conflictive relationship often results in the emergence of different forms of resistance to the conservation policies - local, overt or subdued (Cullen 2012; Guha 1989; Scott 1976, 1985). These forms of resistance are the consequence of the conflictual interactions between different moral economies and culturally dependent ethical codes associated, in this case, with socially acceptable political, economic, and environmental behavior (Thompson 1968; Sivaramakrishnan 2005).
The modern idealization of nature affects much more than empty forests, marshes, and mountains.
More often than not, the protection of these 'natures' is achieved by economically and culturally reorganizing rural areas. This reorganization, although largely based on urban social and cultural values, occurs in several domains: administrative (the creation of jurisdictional borders), infrastructural (services, housing, and roads needed to manage and satisfy tourism), demographic (changes to population movements), economic (shifts in the productive structures of the area towards the service economy). The proliferation of protected areas results in an indirect structural urbanization of the rural world (Lefebvre 1992; Williams 1973). The new rural areas are the result of the interaction of different collective imaginations and new markets (Vaccaro and Beltran 2007). In this new world order, these new 'natural' rural areas do also add value to their agricultural production by marketing to the organic and traditional food sectors, by adding a natural and cultural brand to their production (Piermattei 2013).
Protected areas, as new poles of attraction and development, are at the heart of processes of gentrification and selective urbanization (Prados 2009). The increase in the value of land, of landscape and of ways of life often results in cultural conflict (Duncan and Duncan 2004; Boglioli 2009), or in marginalization of locals and their access to the land and its natural resources (Phillips 2005; Stoddart 2012). The gentrification of the environment is not limited to a given national territory. On a world scale, there is a demand for nature as a scarce, highly valued commodity, and the peripheral rural areas have an abundance of it, which makes them sought after by affluent urban populations. The rural areas are consequently connected and integrated into regional, national and international management schemes and markets (Ensminger 1992;