Nature 2.0: Social Media, Online Activism and the politics of Environmental Conservation

Tracy Marafiote's picture
Type of Call: 
Call for submissions to conference
February 1, 2014

Call for Papers for fully funded work/writeshop – May 2015, Aosta Valley, Italy


Nature 2.0: Social Media, Online Activism and the politics of Environmental Conservation


Organized by: Bram Büscher (ISS, Erasmus University, the Netherlands).


Date: 24-30 May 2015.


Place: Plan del la Tour, Aosta Valley, Italy (2 hours from Milan) – see


The idea: through this CfP, I would like to invite scholars working on the links between new media (web 2.0 and social media) and environmentalism or conservation to submit an abstract for a dedicated work/writeshop in (late) May 2015 in the Aosta Valley in Italy. The idea is to come together with a small group of scholars (max. 10-12) to present and discuss draft papers on this topic and have them ready for submission to a journal by the end of the week. The workshop will be held in a beautiful agriturismo (plan del la tour), with plenty of time and space for hikes, discussions, good dinners and creative leisure time.


Below you can find some more information on the topic and the broad array of potential contributions we are interested in. If you feel that your research fits this description, or that you can quite easily extend your current research to fit the topic, do consider submitting an abstract. From the abstracts, we will chose 4-6 participants to join 6 others already involved in the project in this exciting workshop. If your abstract is selected, your participation will be fully funded. Scholars from the global south are especially encouraged to submit abstracts.


Deadline for abstracts: We request paper abstracts by 1 February 2014. Please send a 250 word abstract, with title, contact information, and three keywords as an attachment to If approved, full papers are due 1 May 2015.


More information: if you want more information, please do not hesitate to get in touch:


The topic:

With much global biodiversity, ecosystems and natural landscapes in persistent rapid decline, conservation actors and concerned individuals and organisations are looking for novel ways to pursue conservation objectives. A major new frontier is the so-called ‘web 2.0’ and related social media. Web 2.0 applications like Wikipedia and YouTube and social media such as Facebook and Twitter allow people to create, rate and change online content and share these within cyberspace. These developments enable internet-users to now ‘co-create’ and co-produce the online activities, services, spaces and information they produce or consume, at least within the limits of possible action. Conservation actors are rapidly deploying new web 2.0 and social media techniques and facilities, allowing those who are concerned about global biodiversity and ecosystem decline to (seemingly) more directly engage with conservation activities in other parts of the world. The term ‘Nature 2.0’ aims to capture these dynamics and the natures to which they lead.


The workshop and the special issue that it wants to produce aim to produce a set of papers on the concept (and practices) of Nature 2.0 and the way it changes the global political economy of conservation in our neoliberal times. We invite papers that critically interrogate how social media, web 2.0 applications and new forms of online activism change the politics and material/cultural forms and practices of global conservation and how they affect people and biodiversity in different spatial and temporal contexts. Of special interest are papers that connect spaces of online conservation consumption (through activism, images, videos, fundraising, etc) with offline spaces of conservation production (protected areas, biodiversity hotspots, wildlife corridors, etc) in/from different parts of the globe.


In sum, the workshop and related special issue aim to address the following core questions:

-       How can we conceptualize Nature 2.0 as a new space of enacting/practicing/experiencing global conservation and what new (or familiar) political conservation geographies follow from this?

-       Does the concept of Nature 2.0 reflect an emerging political economy of global conservation and what roles do variously positioned conservation ‘producers’ and ‘consumers’ play in this?

-       In what ways do web 2.0 technologies constrain and/or broaden the field of possible practices and discourses of environmental conservation?

-       What are the epistemological and methodological challenges of conducting Nature 2.0 research?

-       How can we identify the relevant negative and productive aspects of power at work in the spaces/bodies/publics of and in relation to Nature 2.0?

-       How have social media and web 2.0 changed online conservation activism and the cyberpolitics of global biodiversity conservation?

-       What are some of the dominant Nature 2.0 on-line practices and how do they influence the work and activities of conservation producers and consumers?

-       How do online and offline conservation spaces affect and involve each other, and how does that influence global, national and local politics of conservation?

-       In which ways is Nature 2.0 characterized and influenced by broader changes in neoliberal capitalism, and which aspects of nature 2.0 are not sufficiently explained by these dynamics?

-       How can race, gender, sexuality, class, emotion, and other concepts inform our understanding of Nature 2.0?


For more content info, see also the following two papers, both of which can be downloaded from


Büscher, Bram and Jim Igoe (2013). ‘Prosuming’ Conservation? Web 2.0, Nature and the Intensification of Value-Producing Labour in Late Capitalism. Journal of Consumer Culture 13, 3: 283-305.


Büscher, Bram (2013). Nature 2.0. Geoforum 44, 1: 1-3.