Universität Wien
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240520 SE Game Reserves, Species and Climate Protection (P4) (2020W)

Anthropology of Law Perspectives on National Parks and "Nature Governance"

Continuous assessment of course work

Participation at first session is obligatory!

The lecturer can invite students to a grade-relevant discussion about partial achievements. Partial achievements that are obtained by fraud or plagiarized result in the non-evaluation of the course (entry 'X' in certificate). The plagiarism software 'Turnitin' will be used for courses with continuous assessment.


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


max. 20 participants
Language: German, English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Update 11.12.2020: Due to the current Covid-19 Situation the course will change to digital till the end of the semester.

Update 3.11.2020: Due to the current Covid-19 Situation the course will change to digital till the end of the year.

  • Friday 23.10. 11:30 - 14:45 Hörsaal A, NIG 4.Stock
  • Friday 20.11. 11:30 - 14:45 Digital
  • Friday 15.01. 11:30 - 18:15 Digital
  • Friday 29.01. 11:30 - 18:15 Digital


Aims, contents and method of the course

The relationship between social transformation (to a higher level of political self-determination and economic self-reliance) and conservation is still an uneasy one, as the latter was utilised as an important historical strategy to gain control over vast tracts of land in colonial times. The main focus of the Seminar lies on the legal status quo of conservation and the struggle of local and indigenous communities to get an upper hand in natural resource management. Historical inequalities are therefore among the major challenges and persistent obstacles that effect Game Reserves and National Parks in most parts of Africa. The sheer abundance of legal pluralism creates a not even remotely comprehensible legal and institutional framework. Since laws fundamentally become embedded in all kinds of power structures, social and economic relationships, first and foremost in the relations to land, their mere legal revision does not automatically change the political conditions induced by their historical effectiveness. Various legal arenas compete with institutions of local governance, communal empowerment, and local systems of checks and balances. All this leads to a "bewildering kaleidoscope" of a multi-legal field of conservation in many regional examples.
Internal contradictions between transnational conventions, international and regional agreements, national legislation, provincial statutory provisions, customary law, NGO project law, and so forth contribute to a legal arena resembling a maze for governance. Legal pluralism is, of course, no exception but the rule, particularly in postcolonial states (of mind). A conflict of compliance cannot easily be resolved where the constitution does not offer a clear determination of legal hierarchies. Legal pluralism and divergent political claims mirror power relations within the larger political field. The Seminar aims to draw attention to the plight of local communities following historical land dispossession and forced removals, and atheir current interests in determining and controlling conservation agendas.

Assessment and permitted materials

Vorbehaltlich der Möglichkeit der Präsenzlehre:

Active Participation in discussions and Seminar-Paper of 15 pages including literature (Präsentationen und Arbeiten sind sowohl auf deutsch als auch Englisch möglich, daher englischer Text des Kovo).

Andernfalls: Seminar-Paper of 15 pages including literature

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Physical Presence in classes, active participation 30 %
Paper 70 % (Deadline 26th February 2020)

Both need to be within ratings 1-4

Examination topics

Content of Seminar

Reading list

Werner Zips und Markus Weilenmann (eds.): The Governance of Legal Pluralism. Empirical Studies from Africa and Beyond. Wien und Berlin: Lit Verlag

Werner Zips and Manuela Zips-Mairitsch (eds.): Bewildering Borders. The Economy of Conservation in Africa (Lit 2019)
And literature cited in this volume and indicated in class or Moodle

Association in the course directory

Last modified: Fr 12.05.2023 00:21