A posthuman analysis of wildlife security

  • Emma-Louise Fletcher

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Drawing on emergent post-anthropocentric theories in politics, security and international relations, this thesis offers a study of the South African poaching crisis from a posthuman perspective. At the core of the study is the development of the wildlife security assemblage, which closely analyses the relationship between security and wildlife conservation in the region and questions the dominant anthropocentrism that not only impacts upon ethical conservation practices, but also speaks to a wider need to address problematic interspecies relations that impinge upon our abilities to coexist with nonhuman nature. This thesis uses predominantly ethnographic research methods, and reflects the movement towards multispecies ethnography when engaging with the politics of the interspecies encounter. It includes extensive field work in the region of South Africa whereby I engaged with many people and places that constituted what I came to understand as the wildlife security assemblage in order to make sense of the complexity of this interspecies security issue. This ranged from trophy hunting to game rangers and activists, showing distinctive interpretations as to what constitutes conservation practice. From this field work, three substantive chapters emerged that reflected the findings: Violence, surveillance and care. The thesis offers a comprehensive literature review identifying a gap for more interspecies approaches to political knowledge, particularly in terms of a sensibility for wildlife within the nexus of security. Furthermore, it offers a novel conceptual framework through which to address complex interspecies security issues that borrows from various strands of posthuman, post-anthropocentric approaches and explains the logics of power that shape and mould the assemblage and the relations within it through the three substantive chapters.
Date of AwardDec 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SupervisorJohn Barry (Supervisor) & Michael Bourne (Supervisor)

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