International conferences have become key venues in which diverse public, private and nonprofit actors, who are normally dispersed in time and space, convene to negotiate not just official texts, but also inter-organizational relations, and hegemonic narratives. They also offer opportunities for researchers to study actors who are otherwise difficult to approach and occasions to observe interactions among them. In this National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded research, a multi-university research team uses a method called Collaborative Event Ethnography (CEE) to adapt “traditional” ethnographic methods to study how global environmental conferences precipitate paradigm shifts in global conservation. Conferences studied by the research team thus far include: 2010 Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD/CoP10); 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20); 2014 Sixth World Parks Congress; and the 2016 World Conservation Congress.

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