Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Global Governance and Human Security

First Advisor

Timothy M. Shaw

Second Advisor

Jane Parpart

Third Advisor

Heidi Gengenbach


This inherently interdisciplinary dissertation explores the link between biodiversity conservation and human well-being in Kenya’s northern rangelands. However, unlike most existing studies on this almost over-researched topic, it specifically focuses on security aspect of human well-being, which it conceptualizes as human security. Essentially, the dissertation seeks to understand transformation, change and continuity in global conservation governance and its implications for human security of conservation area communities conceptualized as indigenous people living in close proximity to a protected area.

The dissertation’s analysis is premised on a pragmatic juxtaposition of global governance, norm localization, human security and gender theoretical frameworks. Borrowing from Rosenau’s conceptualization of change and continuity, it employs a global governance theoretical framework to understand transformation, change and continuity in conservation governance at the global level and in Kenya during 1980 to 2016 period. Further, it employs Acharya’s norm localization framework in explaining observed transformation, change and continuity in the context of Kenya’s northern rangelands. Finally, its human security analysis is informed by Owen’s threshold-based framework. Notably, the dissertation understands governance and security as gendered concepts whose analysis demands a gender-sensitive analytical lens.

Mixed methods research methodology involving pragmatic juxtaposition of qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis methods underpins this dissertation. Data collection – mainly, through key informant interviews, focus group discussions, household survey, water sampling, GPS and observation – took place in Kenya during the months of June, July and August 2016. The resultant textual, numerical and spatial data were analyzed with the aid of NVIVO, SPSS and QGIS respectively. Water quality analysis was done at a certified laboratory facility in Nairobi, Kenya. Suffice to point out here that this dissertation employs reflexivity to enhance objectivity.

Significantly, the dissertation establishes that global conservation governance during 1980 to 2016 period is characterized by transformations, changes and continuities. It further establishes that there is a complex and indirect relationship between conservation governance and human security. Consequently, it identifies eight pathways through which conservation governance links to human security and proposes a conceptual model for understanding biodiversity-security linkage. Importantly, the dissertation establishes that community-based conservation as practiced in Kenya’s northern rangelands is unsustainable.


Free and open access to this Campus Access Dissertation is made available to the UMass Boston community by ScholarWorks at UMass Boston. Those not on campus and those without a UMass Boston campus username and password may gain access to this dissertation through resources like Proquest Dissertations & Theses Global or through Interlibrary Loan. If you have a UMass Boston campus username and password and would like to download this work from off-campus, click on the "Off-Campus UMass Boston Users" link above.