The Anthropocene refers to the planetary scale of anthropogenic influences on the composition and function of Earth ecosystems and life forms. Socio-political and geographic responses frame the uneven topographies of climate change, while efforts to adapt and mitigate its impact extend across social and natural sciences. This review of anthropology's evolving engagement with the Anthropocene contemplates multifarious approaches to research. The emergence of multispecies ethnographic research highlights entanglements of humans with other life forms. New ontological considerations are reflected in Kohn's “Anthropology of Life,” ethnographic research that moves beyond an isolated focus on the human to consider other life processes and entities as research participants. Examples of critical engagement discussed include anthropology beyond disciplinary borders, queries writing in the Anthropocene, and anthropology of climate change. We demonstrate the diverse positions of anthropologists within this juncture in relation to our central trope of entanglements threaded through our discussion in this review.
A Critical Review
Hannah Gibson and Sita Venkateswar
Posthumanism, Indigeneity, and Anthropology
The vectors by which the question of the animal has confronted the discipline of anthropology are both diverse—from paleoarchaeological fascination with the transition from ape to man to sociocultural accounts of human-animal conflict—and fraught insofar as they tend to loop back into one another. For instance, while posthumanism is intellectually novel, to take its line of critique seriously is to recognize that the science of man has depended on the philosophical animal from the start. A still tighter loop could be drawn around Lévi-Strauss's foundational interest in animal symbolism and the Amazonian ontologies undergirding Latour's amodern philosophy. Three related interdependencies pull hard on these loops: 1) philosophy and anthropology; 2) the human and the animal; 3) modernity and indigeneity. This last interdependency is notably undertheorized in the present efflorescence of human-animal scholarship. This article attends to some of the consequences of modernity/indigeneity's clandestine operations in the literature.
An Anthropology of Marine Stock Enhancement Science in Japan
The roles played in fishery resource management by the nonhuman species that coevolve with humans are often marginalized in both discourse and practice. Built on existing reviews of the multispecies ethnography of maritime conservation, domestication, and marine biology, this article aims to reconceptualize the politics of difference in stock enhancement. By examining the herring stock enhancement program in Japan as an assemblage of multispecies inter- and intra-action in the context of marine science and seascaping, this article recontextualizes fisheries management and crosses the methodological and ontological borders in maritime studies. The article shows that multispecies ethnography serves as a heuristic means to describe the co-constitution of seascapes, which are beings, things, and bodies of information and processes that shape marine surroundings, or what fisheries biologists and fisheries resource managers tend to overlook as mere background.
Indigenous Relations against Pipelines
/destructive and embedded in a capitalist system that is fundamentally at odds with the cycles and systems that make Indigenous survival possible. Infrastructure vis-à-vis Settler Colonialism How, then, can an anthropology of infrastructure address the radical
gas industries. This research is broadly situated within the anthropology of disaster, and more specifically within the study of the cultural impact and recovery from disaster. It is beyond the scope of this article to offer a review of these
The Work of Ocean Sciences, Scientists, and Technologies in Producing the Sea as Space
How do scientists produce the ocean as space through their work and words? In this article, I examine how the techniques and tools of oceanographers constitute ocean science. Bringing theoretical literature from science and technology studies on how scientists “do” science into conversation with fine-grained ethnographic and sociological accounts of scientists in the field, I explore how ocean science is made, produced, and negotiated. Within this central concern, the technologies used to obtain data draw particular focus. Juxtaposed with this literature is a corpus by ocean scientists about their own work as well as interview data from original research. Examining the differences between scientists’ self-descriptions and analyses of them by social scientists leads to a productive exploration of how ocean science is constituted and how this work delineates the ocean as a form of striated space. This corpus of literature is placed in the context of climate change in the final section.
Werner Krauss and Hans von Storch
Recent surveys show that the communication about climate change between science and the public is severely disturbed. In this article we discuss this problem in focusing on both regional climate services and other, local forms of knowledge. The authors suggest that climate science and its public services have to critically revise their own practices and to acknowledge other forms of knowledge about climate as constitutive. Based on approaches from geography and anthropology, the article first discusses the short history and "normal practices" of regional climate services and how they approach the public. Outlining the potentials and constraints of this concept, the article focuses on the friction, on "its openness to change as it rubs up against society" (Hulme 2007). The focus then shifts to local knowledge systems and how they deal with the challenges of a changing climate. In addition to the "extended peer review" as a new option for climate research in a post-normal setup, the authors discuss the possibility of an "extended knowledge basis," that is, the integration of different forms of climate knowledge with a special focus on regional populations.
Global Patterns in Interaction and Conflict Surrounding Cetacean Conservation and Traditional Marine Hunting Communities
With the International Whaling Commission’s 1982 moratorium on commercial whaling in force, much of today’s cetacean hunting is done by traditional or indigenous communities for subsistence use. However, many communities continue to face pressure from other global stakeholders to stop. Informed by my research with marine hunters in Indonesia, this article combines scholarship from biology, philosophy, and law with global anthropology on cetacean hunting groups to explore a set of recurring arguments arising between hunting communities, management and conservation bodies, and publics. These include the role of charismatic species in Western imagination and conservation; how understandings of animal sentience determine acceptable prey; disputes about the authenticity of and control over traditional hunting practice; and the entanglement of cultural sovereignty and rights to animal resources. Bringing these arguments together allows for an examination of how the dominant global discourse about traditional whaling is shaped and how it affects extant hunting communities.
The Politics of Life after Earth
This article examines the reinvigoration of outer space imaginaries in the era of global environmental change, and the impacts of these imaginaries on Earth. Privatized space research mobilizes fears of ecological, political, or economic catastrophe to garner support for new utopian futures, or the search for Earth 2.0. These imaginaries reflect dominant global discourses about environmental and social issues, and enable the flow of earthly resources toward an extraterrestrial frontier. In contrast, eco-centric visions emerging from Gaia theory or feminist science fiction project post-earthly life in terms that are ecological, engaged in multispecies relations and ethics, and anticapitalist. In these imaginaries, rather than centering humans as would-be destroyers or saviors of Earth, our species becomes merely instrumental in launching life—a multispecies process—off the planet, a new development in deep evolutionary time. This article traces these two imaginaries and how they are reshaping material and political earthly life.
)—a finding that resonates greatly with my ethnography. Gardner and Lewis (1996) have explored the uneasy tension between aid work and anthropology, showing that methods used in social sciences could be beneficial to the work of aid organizations and