Megan Youdelis recently graduated with a PhD from the Department of Geography at York University. Her research interests include the neoliberalization of conservation, local communities’ roles in environmental governance, ecotourism, discourses of nature, and the governmentalizing processes involved in conservation and development interventions. Her SSHRC-funded Master’s project explores the contradictions involved in using ecotourism as a market-oriented conservation strategy in a Karen ethnic minority village in a national park in northern Thailand. Her dissertation research, also supported by SSHRC, critically examines public controversies around private sector interests and tourism development within national parks in two field sites, Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada and Doi Suthep-Doi Pui National Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Drawing on both sites, she argues that the politics of austerity create the structural conditions for the post-politicization of conservation governance. Going forward, she plans to pursue research on alternative political economies of conservation in Thailand and Canada.
Keywords: Political ecology; neoliberal conservation; environmental governance; ecotourism; Thailand; Canada