Local Responses to Development and Conservation Projects - A case study in Río San Juan, Nicaragua

Sanne Dahlbom

Studenteropgave: Speciale


Based on a case study in the buffer zone to the Biological Reserve Indio-Maíz, Nicaragua, and by employing an actor-oriented approach, this thesis sets out to explore how locals respond to conservation and development projects, and what factors facilitate these responses. It will be argued that differentiation in people’s capitals, such as access to wider social networks and information, capability to adapt to changes in livelihoods and deal with project requirements, as well as coping with inadequate resources and minimizing risks, to a large degree determine what kind of activities are available to the households and thereby how people relate to or respond to projects. By means of a capital ranking I found that the capital-strong people were those engaged in projects, whereas the more capital-weak did not engage in projects. Encountering a conflictual relation between locals’ different capitals or means to engage in projects and projects’ conditionalities and approach for promotion and implementation, it is analyzed how this contradiction is contested through communitylevel negotiation. It is argued that all social actors exercise power, including those who appear to be powerless, by negotiating, assimilating and contesting projects’ conditionalities, proposed ‘knowledge types’ and agricultural/conservation practices. With a particular focus on social differentiation, conflicts and negotiation at community level, and by recognizing that project external factors in the national and local context can also influence on locals’ responses to projects, this thesis contributes to a way of exploring and understanding issues of diversity and conflict inherent in processes of external intervention.

UddannelserInternationale Udviklingsstudier, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) KandidatTekSam - miljøplanlægning, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
Udgivelsesdato30 aug. 2007
VejledereSøren Lund & Henrik Secher Marcussen


  • Nicaragua
  • external intervention
  • actor-oriented approach
  • Norman Long, etc.
  • development project
  • conservation project
  • case study