Accepted paper:

Field science as social diversity experience? Comparing closing process and social networks of two naturalist expeditions


David Dumoulin Kervran (Sorbonne Nouvelle University)

Paper short abstract:

Paper long abstract:

How to characterize the specific situation of scientific practices, when performed in some non-exclusive places ? Current scientific expeditions of "Our Planet Reviewed" program are usually described as gathering of large international scientists team in some remote areas of southern countries in order to realize large scale specimens collections. Members of the expeditions and journalists use to isolate scientific practices trough boundary work, but the collection/sorting practices would not be possible without the activation of broader social networks. Crucial to the realization of such big and complex gathering, are the quality of relations that members have with local providers: landowners, political-spiritual authorities, pilots and workers, and large array of others specialized sailors useful for some logistic purpose.

Organizers of the expeditions try to construct a sort of in-situ laboratory isolated from the local society. The two examples have strong similarities because they are part of the same umbrella program "Our Planet Reviewed", but they differ with regard to the relation with people living in the place. Madagascar expedition is a malacologist one, realized in 2010 and represent a quasi "off shore" situation where relation with local population have been complexes and unexpected but where foreigners were very isolated. On the other hand, Papua New Guini, focused on entomology, and occurred in 2012, has been co-organized with a center of local parataxonomists and has employed a lot workers of different villages. Two different way of doing field science emerge form this scrutinizing of place-based social relations.

panel L3
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