Florin Ian


ian florin.jpg

Ian Florin est assistant-doctorant à l’Institut des Sciences de l’Environnement (ISE). Il a obtenu un Bachelor en Géographie et Environnement à l’Université de Genève puis un Master en Géographie et Sciences du Territoire au sein de la même université. Il prépare une thèse en géographie sous la direction du Prof. Jörg Balsiger.


Dans le cadre de ses recherches, il a été chercheur invité au département de géographie et d’études historiques de l’University of Eastern Finland ainsi qu’au Barents Institute (Arctic University of Norway).


Recent years have witnessed a growing debate regarding the appropriate way to design and manage protected areas throughout the globe. While the “fortress conservation” paradigm has been strongly criticized, supposedly more integrative and participatory approaches that aimed to replace it have also come under considerable criticisms over the last two decades, notably concerning their incapacity to achieve consequential conservation outcomes. Lately, the debate has been fueled by conservationists’ claims about the contradictions between environmental problems and livelihoods along with a burgeoning critical literature in the social sciences focused on the implication of conservation within neoliberal ideology.

In this context, large-scale conservation corridors – capable to mitigate the effects of habitat fragmentation on key ecosystem processes, according to their advocates – have gained prominence among scientists and protected areas practitioners. As recently as during the 2016 IUCN World Parks Congress, large-scale corridors have been promoted as scientifically sound, collaborative and profitable responses to threats to biodiversity.

Building on literature in political ecology and geography, I analyze how and why individual and collective actors frame, shape and use large-scale corridors. More generally, I want to address the more substantial question: what is conservation for today? 



To do that, I will test the hypothesis that large-scale conservation corridors contribute to what Büscher calls fictitious conservation, which occurs when conservation goals are replaced by the pursuit of competitive advantage through consensus making and marketing. This will, in turn, require to engage with a broader literature on the critique of modernity and neoliberalism.

I use the Greenbelt of Fennoscandia (GBF) –  a network of existing and planned protected areas near the borders of Finland, Norway and Russia, based on a memorandum of understanding signed in 2010 – as a case study. This research draws on approx. 80 semi-structured interviews with officials involved in the GBF and other related stakeholders (hunters, foresters…) in Finland and Norway as well as a desk study of their claims.

Using qualitative content analysis, I examine how stakeholders select their arguments – and the concepts & values that underlie them – regarding the project and why they do so. In doing so, I want to explore how conservation discourses and practices are justified – in Boltanski & Thévenot’s terms – and expressed, through antipolitics, as defined by Fergusson. 


Axes de recherche

Political ecology, conservation de la nature, aires protégées, imaginaires géographiques, territorialités, identités collectives





M. Ian Florin


Uni Vogt B301
+41 22 379 08 54