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Contested Greenspace Solidarities?

Asymmetric Valuation Compromises and Civic-Material Tensions in Copenhagen Allotment Gardens

Nicola C. Thomas and Anders Blok

Urban allotment gardens constitute urban natures with a rich history as well as potential public redevelopment land. While many cities in Europe struggle to protect allotment gardens from competing land-use forces, in Copenhagen, allotments are classified as valuable urban nature and enjoy special protection. We analyze the social and political conditions and consequences of this unique situation. Taking a closer look at the governance arrangements and what we refer to as asymmetric civic-public compromises enabling the protection, we show how this is resulting in new material conflicts between civic and municipal actors. We argue that the conflicts are related to the unresolved issue of competing visions of civic, green, and market sustainability shaping contemporary urban development in Copenhagen and beyond and which are starkly revealed within allotment gardens.

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Daoist Political Ecology as Green Party Ideology

The Case of the Swedish Greens

Devin K. Joshi

Green parties were once hailed as offering a “new politics” vis-à-vis the political establishment by proposing radical political, economic, and environmental reforms, but they have since transformed in many countries to become more moderate and pragmatic. While some doubt whether their ideology still contains any essential core, I contend that a unifying link can be found in the philosophy of the Daoist sage Laozi. I illustrate this by analyzing the party program of Miljöpartiet de Gröna (Sweden’s Environmental Green Party), one of the world’s most electorally successful green parties. As demonstrated here, this green party’s current ideology strongly reflects key imperatives of Daoist political ecology revealing the philosophy’s durability and attractiveness over time and its perceived relevance to pressing issues of sustainability and climate change.

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Glaciers in the Anthropocene

A Biocultural View

Daniel Gaudio and Mauro Gobbi

Disappearing glaciers are one of the most evident signals of climate change of the current period in Earth’s history, the Anthropocene. In this article, we discuss the side effects of the glacier melt from a biocultural standpoint, moving from the Southern European Alps to a global context. Specifically, we highlight what we are losing from a cultural and naturalistic perspective but also, paradoxically, what we could “gain” if we were able to understand more deeply, and with an interdisciplinary approach, glacial dynamics and their role for human society. Glaciers can teach us several stories, but we are quickly approaching the last chance to listen to them.

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The OECD Water Governance Principles in Flood Risk Management

Understanding Conflicts and Frictions in Dutch Flood Protection

Nadine Keller, Barbara Tempels, and Thomas Hartmann

The OECD Water Governance Principles provide a guideline for good water governance. However, these principles can conflict with each other when applied in practice. This contribution aims to understand which dilemmas arise and how such conflicts play out. It is explored in an in-depth case study on Dutch flood risk management in which conflicts between the principles emerge when applied to flood risk management practice. Interviews with water managers were used to collect data on which principles contradict each other and how these conflicts work out in practice. The study reveals that although the principles seem obvious, some principles indeed clash when applying them, while others do not lead to conflicts. Principles on efficiency, trust, and engagement have high potential for conflicts.

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Scaling Back and Fitting In

Envisioning the Futures of Environmental Cultures

Christian Diehm

Devall, Bill. 2020. Living Deep Ecology: A Bioregional Journey. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Kallis, Giorgos, Susan Paulson, Giacomo D’Alisa, and Federico Demaria. 2020. The Case for Degrowth. Medford: Polity.

Open access

Bequeathing a World

Ecological Inheritance, Generational Conflict, and Dispossession

Kath Weston

In recent debates about climate change, a transmission model of ecological inheritance has apportioned responsibility for ecological damage to generations portrayed as locked in conflict, while depicting Earth as a worldly possession capable of being assigned to a set of heirs. With a focus on North America, this article examines assumptions about ownership, possession, dispositional authority, and succession embedded in the trope of bequeathing an ecologically compromised world to a receiving generation that worries it might be the last. Many of these assumptions create exclusions for those who already apprehend themselves as dispossessed. Indigenous conceptions of responsibility, temporality, and place suggest ways to begin to decolonise the rhetoric of ecological inheritance, allowing humans to inhabit the everyday under signs other than extinction, regardless of how things turn out.

Open access

Black as Drought

Arid Landscapes and Ecologies of Encounter across the African Diaspora

Brittany Meché

In the poem “ca’line’s prayer,” Lucille Clift on marks the progression of Black generational memory through the metaphor of drought. The poem’s 1969 publication coincided with one of the worst droughts in modern history. Across the West African Sahel late rains and the onset of famine led to widespread death and displacement. Starting from this conjunctural moment in the late 1960s and using Clifton’s provocation about the “Blackness” of drought, this article contemplates representations of arid environments in African and Afro-diasporic texts. I consider various imaginings of arid spaces, presented simultaneously as wasteland and homeland. Surveying critical scholarship on the Sahelian drought, I interrogate the contested meanings of Black life and death in deserts. I also consider the contemporary resonances of these themes, engaging African eco-critical and Afro/African futurists texts. I show how these portrayals of actual and imagined deserts reveal alternate modes of encounter forged through Black/African ecological thought.

Open access

Alex A. Moulton and Inge Salo

Black geographies and Black ecologies are epistemological frameworks that attend to the ideological, philosophical, and material portent of Black movements in dialectical, but not deterministic, relationships with the geographies and environments of Black life and struggle. This article reviews the Black geographies and Black ecologies literature, showing the convergence of these bodies of scholarship around themes of racial, spatial, and ecological justice. The thematic, methodological, and analytical overlaps between Black geographies and Black ecologies are quite apropos for understanding the current realities faced by Black racial-spatial-ecological justice movements; for clarifying the geographies, histories, and ecologies of Black transformation, flourishing, and everyday resistance; and for explicating how global environmental crises are rooted in racial capitalism and regimes of racialization (a sociopolitical crisis).

Open access

Black Placemaking under Environmental Stressors

Dryland Farming in the Arid Black Pacific, 1890–1930

Maya L. Shamsid-Deen and Jayson M. Porter

Dry farming, or techniques of cultivating crops in regions with domineering dry seasons, was central to Black agricultural life across the Black diaspora, but especially in the Black Pacific. Ecologically, the Black diaspora transformed semi-arid ecosystems in both the Atlantic and Pacific. However, there is a dearth of Black narratives that draw on the ecological and botanical relationships held with the land. Through a collaborative botanical and historical approach that blends historical ecology and botany, we evaluate how Black placemaking occurred despite arid climatic stressors and as a result of ecological and cultural knowledge systems. Highlighting Black agricultural life in Costa Chica, Mexico and Blackdom, New Mexico, we argue that people and plants made cimarronaje (or collective and situated Black placemaking) possible in the Western coasts and deserts of Mexico and New Mexico through botanical knowledge systems of retaining water and cultivating a life in water-scarce environments.

Open access

Amani C. Morrison

Affordance theory, originating in ecological psychology but adopted by the field of design studies, refers to possibilities for action that a subject perceives in an environment. I posit Black spatial affordance, critically employing affordances with an eye toward Black ecological and geographical practices, and I apply it to the Great Migration residential landscape and literature. Grounded in racial capitalist critique, Black geographic thought, and cultural critique at the intersections of race, place, and performance, Black spatial affordance works as an analytic to engage Black quotidian practice in racially circumscribed and delineated places and spaces. Operating at multiple scales, Black spatial affordance engages the specificity of places structured by racism to analyze the micro-level spatial negotiations Black subjects devise and employ in recognition of the terrain through which they move or are emplaced. Employing Black spatial affordance enables critical inquiry into the spatial navigation of subjects who occupy marginal positions in society.