Toward conservational anthropology: Addressing anthropocentric bias in anthropology

Helen Kopnina*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


Anthropological literature addressing conservation and development often blames 'conservationists' as being neo-imperialist in their attempts to institute limits to commercial activities by imposing their post-materialist eco-ideology. The author argues that this view of conservationists is ironic in light of the fact that the very notion of 'development' is arguably an imposition of the (Western) elites. The anthropocentric bias in anthropology also permeates constructivist ethnographies of human-animal 'interactions,' which tend to emphasize the socio-cultural complexity and interconnectivity rather than the unequal and often extractive nature of this 'interaction.' Anthropocentrism is argued to be counteractive to reconciling conservationists' efforts at environmental protection with the traditional ontologies of the interdependency of human-nature relationship.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-146
Number of pages20
JournalDialectical Anthropology
Issue number1-2
Early online date30 Mar 2012
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes


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