P07
Performing nature at world's ends

Convenors:
Simone Abram (Durham University)
Marianne Elisabeth Lien (University of Oslo)
Adrian Franklin (University of Tasmania)
Location:
I
Start time:
11 December, 2008 at 8:30
Session slots:
3

Short abstract:

The panel takes a new look at the production/reproduction of nature as a performed category through comparative analysis of the enactment of nature in places constituted as peripheral. We welcome comparative ethnographic approaches to the performance of nature at 'world's ends'.

Long abstract:

A long history of anthropological focus on nature and culture has alerted us to the contested construction of nature as category. This panel takes a new look at the production and reproduction of nature as a performed category through comparative analysis of the enactment of nature in places constituted as peripheral. Given the central role of nature in nation building, rights of ownership and appropriation and the right to define what is worth preserving are crucial themes. The old truism of identity being located in place can no longer be assumed; we cannot expect the production of nature in any place to be exclusive, nor the sharing of social worlds to be linked exclusively to location. Even for those who do not objectify nature as a categorical object, though, concepts of nature may be thrust upon them. Observation of this conjunction, challenge and resistance form part of the comparative project we seek to explore through this workshop. We propose the idea of 'world's ends' as a fruitful comparative axis drawing on forms of peripherality and wilderness broadly conceived. Does a proximity to 'wilderness' heighten the contested performance of natures? To what extent are questions of ownership a focus of conflict in territories conceived as peripheral? And how is nature negotiated in relation to the production of indigeneity? How do forms of dwelling involve different kinds of nature-cultures? What particular issues arise over temporary dwellings and holiday homes? And what are the implications of tourism-related exploitation of areas defined as wilderness?