P091
Living together in changing environments: towards an anthropology of multiple natures in Europe and beyond

Convenors:
Saskia Walentowitz (Institut of Social Anthropology)
Herta Nöbauer (University of Vienna)
Discussant:
TBA
Location:
S-243
Start time:
3 August, 2014 at 9:00
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

This workshop calls for ethnographies that describe the making of and engagement with multiple natures in changing Western environments. How are nature continua achieved through the coordination of practices and intimate knowledge entangling people, life forms, technologies and bureaucracies?

Long abstract:

The historical advent of Nature as a domain separate from human culture and society is the corner stone of Western Modernism. This dualism fostered the anthropological project and its comparative practices of othering. However, anthropology currently undergoes a quiet revolution. The premises of naturalism are unsettled by ethnographies of multi-species socialities grounded in multiple nature cosmologies on the one hand, and by studies describing how people, life forms and things are enmeshed and separated in scientific, medical and technological practises on the other hand. All these studies de-essentialise nature by demonstrating how reality multiplies in both, multinaturalistic and multiculturalistic ontologies. Paradoxically, such non-dualistic approaches have seldom been applied to living environments in the West, outside of clinics and laboratories. This workshop aims at gathering sound ethnographies that describe the making of and engagement with multiple natures in changing Western environments. We also welcome contributions that deal with other locations where naturalism is salient for nature conservation, management, exploitation, or otherwise. Ethnographies may address the following questions: How do people and non-human life forms entangle and emerge alongside with landscape technologies, environmental bureaucracies, and practices of resource management, biodiversity protection, agribusiness, outdoor sports, tourism etc.? How are technologies and practices embodied in people's intimate knowledge about and experiences with changing environments and landscapes? How are various nature continua achieved through the coordination of shifting, multiple natures? How do human/non-human collaborations co-shape the negotiation of conflicting interests and strengthen previous or new identities and institutions concerned with changing environments?