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Timothy McLellan is a PhD candidate in anthropology at Cornell University. He has a BA in Law and Chinese from The School of Oriental and African Studies, and an MSc in Law and Anthropology from The London School of Economics.

Amateurism and Our Common Concern for Biodiversity

Treating the environment as a common resource often implies not only local, but also supra-local, even global, collectives of concerned stakeholders. While engaging with local actors, these stakeholders frequently insist on the need for a ‘professional’ approach. Examining an international project aimed at introducing biologically diverse agroforestry in a county in southwest China, this essay describes a more ‘amateur’ approach adopted by one international organisation. It argues that this amateurism demonstrates that, even within global professional organisations, there is an appetite for a new, more spontaneous, approach that values local knowledge and practices.

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