Convivial Constitutionality: Human-Predator Interrelations in Complex Social-Ecological Systems

Alvarado Grefa-Lüscher, Lisa; Haller, Tobias; Zangger, Ariane Nora; Weissman, Samuel (26 October 2021). Convivial Constitutionality: Human-Predator Interrelations in Complex Social-Ecological Systems (Unpublished). In: RAI2021: Anthropology and Conservation. Virtual Conference (online). 25-29 October 2021.

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“Convivial Constitutionality” is a SNFS-funded research project at the Institute of Social Anthropology at the University of Bern. The project focuses on three examples of human-predator interrelations, including the jaguar in Ecuador, the wolf in Romania and the lion in Kenya. Theoretically based on the constitutionality approach, convivial constitutionality explores the possibility that bottom-up institution-building processes could be sustainable coping strategies to achieve a co-existence of predators and humans. It questions the often-assumed human-predator conflict and proposes that rather, it should be considered a human-human conflict due to different understandings of conservation within a heterogeneous field of actors (e.g., conservationists, researchers, state officials, local people…). These conflicts often include the prioritization of protected areas over local food systems and cultural landscapes. Therefore, conservation initiatives often lack acceptance on the local level. The constitutionality approach tackles these conflicts by analyzing the necessary conditions for successful bottom-up institution building processes, which in the end will be accepted both by local and national/global actors. This often includes adapting former common-pool resource management institutions and strategies to current contexts, also affecting local food systems. Thus, “Convivial Constitutionality” is a new approach which supports the interplay between conservation, wildlife management and coping strategies on a local level while suggesting that the establishment or change of local institutions based on participative processes, local knowledge systems and historically grown experiences would foster local resilience and hence be more sustainable than top-down initiatives because they are defined, accepted and owned by local people.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Social Anthropology

UniBE Contributor:

Alvarado Grefa-Lüscher, Lisa, Haller, Tobias, Zangger, Ariane Nora, Weissman, Samuel


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology




Anja Julienne Wohlgemuth

Date Deposited:

21 Mar 2022 10:45

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 16:13

Additional Information:

Panel P028: Conservation initiatives and the impacts on food systems, food security, resilience and gender.


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