Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Resource Conservation (International Conservation and Development)

Department or School/College

W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation

Committee Chair

Keith Bosak

Commitee Members

Brian Chaffin, Sarah Halvorson


Privately Protected Area, Neoliberalism, Neoliberal Conservation, Chile, Patagonia


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Nature and Society Relations


Neoliberal ideology increasingly underscores many mainstream efforts to conserve biodiversity. This research explores this convergence through an in-depth case study of a privately owned park located in Chilean Patagonia. In two complementary chapters, I assess the social and cultural impacts of the project, and examine the role of discourse in the process of communicating and constructing the park. In the first chapter I draw from interview data collected from September through December of 2016 and explore the perspectives of local people with a variety of relationships to the project. In the second I employ a critical discourse analysis of park promotional materials to examine ways in which representations of the project highlight the heroic role of Northern actors while concealing the projects relationship to neoliberal capitalism. Through my analysis, I show that the project has precipitated a host of deleterious social impacts: local people expressed feelings of loss, powerlessness, and concern that their way of life is being eroded by outside forces. Conjoined, the two chapters display how the complex experiences of local people are rendered illegible in discourses produced for global audiences. I argue that apparently matter-of-fact park discourses extend the legitimation of capitalist modes of conservation, and play a critical role in silencing the dissent of local people.



© Copyright 2017 Elena Louder