Temporalities in conservation
Sebastian Benavides (University of Aberdeen)
Francesca Marin (University of Aberdeen)
Andrew Whitehouse (University of Aberdeen)
Science Site/Chemistry CG60
Start time:
5 July, 2016 at 11:00
Session slots:

Short abstract:

What is understood as natural and anthropogenic according to diverse temporalities? We welcome papers about temporality in conservation contexts exploring the heuristic possibilities and limits of concepts like "Anthropocene", anthropogenic threat, biological invasion, and socio-ecological systems.

Long abstract:

This panel addresses usages and understandings of time within conservation contexts. It seems that environmental policy-making, scientific practices, "local environmental knowledge" as well as their implementations (protected areas, wildlife protection, etc.) rely on notions of time that deserve more anthropological discussion, especially in a time when concepts such as Climate Change and Anthropocene cross several disciplines and the public debate. In particular, official conservation may hold the illusion that by controlling space it is also possible to control time. This is often achieved by creating protected areas where bioprocesses are managed following ideas of pristine pasts. Notwithstanding, how can human institutions deal with more-than-human temporalities? Scientific modes of perception and registry of time are only some of the possible attunements (Ingold 2000) to environmental change that we find in diverse conservation practices. Assuming that people involved and affected by conservation programs experience and refer to different temporalities, defining boundaries between "natural" and "anthropogenic" dynamics does not result in a straightforward process. Thus, different temporalities might lead to contradictory definitions of what is understood as "nature" and "natural". Should not conservation policies fully recognise their attempt to control temporal processes and not only spatial configurations? Do time and prediction of possible events play a part in the power exerted by different actors in conservation initiatives (e.g. predicting effects of environmental risks)? We welcome papers addressing these questions as well as further exploration on heuristic possibilities and limits of concepts like "Anthropocene", anthropogenic threats, biodiversity, biological invasion, and socio-ecological systems.