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Fabian Pindus

Fabian Pindus

Member of the International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture (GCSC), Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen


Fabian Pindus

Project title:

Nature as Capital? Enactments of the Travelling Model of Biodiversity in Southern Africa



Rampant biodiversity loss is perceived as one of the paradigmatic global crisis phenomena of an increasingly interdependent world-system.

Catalyzed by the effects of climate change as well as societal transformations such as urbanization and a rapidly growing population, the already acute loss of biodiversity is predicted to severely impact the future of Southern Africa’s social-ecological systems.

Vis-á-vis global social-ecological crises and the apparent failure of traditional approaches to conservation, a paradigm shift has occurred within the field of conservation biology.

This paradigm shift is marked by the idea that biodiversity has to be tethered to an economic rationality in order to save it (Dempsey 2016). Concomitantly, biodiversity governance is increasingly structured by a logic of measurementality (Turnhout et al. 2014): In order to provide policy-relevant knowledge, biodiversity is translated into ecosystem services.

Based on the concept of the travelling idea/model (Behrends et al. 2014, Weisser et al. 2014), the preliminary research questions of my project are:

How is the travelling model of biodiversity translated from the sphere of the transnational epistemic community of conservation to the settings and problem-spaces of Southern Africa?

How is this travelling model appropriated and modified in the contexts of conservation projects in Southern Africa?


Behrends, Andrea/Park, Sung-Joon/Rottenburg, Richard (2014): Travelling Models –    Introducing an Analytical Concept to Globalisation Studies, in: ebd. (Hrsg.)         Travelling Models in African Conflict Management. Leiden/Boston: Brill, S. 1-40.

Dempsey, Jessica (2016): Enterprising Nature: Economics, Markets, and Finance in      Global Biodiversity Politics. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Turnhout, Esther/Neves, Katja/De Lijster, Elisa (2014): ‘Measurementality’ in biodiversity        governance: knowledge, transparency, and the Intergovernmental Science-   Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), in: Environment       and Planning A 46(3), S. 581-597.

Weisser, Florian/Bollig, Michael/Doevenspeck, Martin/Müller ‐politics: Offsetting,       depoliticisation, and contestation in a  Mahn, Detlef (2014): Translating the ‘adaptation to climate change’paradigm: The politics of a travelling idea in          Africa, in: The Geographical Journal 180 (2), S. 111-119.