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Archaeology and Animal Persons

Toward a Prehistory of Human-Animal Relations

Erica Hill

The discipline of archaeology has long engaged with animals in a utilitarian mode, constructing animals as objects to be hunted, manipulated, domesticated, and consumed. Only recently, in tandem with the rising interest in animals in the humanities and the development of interdisciplinary animal studies research, has archaeology begun to systematically engage with animals as subjects. This article describes some of the ways in which archaeologists are reconstructing human engagements with animals in the past, focusing on relational modes of interaction documented in many hunting and gathering societies. Among the most productive lines of evidence for human-animal relations in the past are animal burials and structured deposits of animal bones. These archaeological features provide material evidence for relational ontologies in which animals, like humans, were vested with sentience and agency.

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The Return of the Animal

Posthumanism, Indigeneity, and Anthropology

Danielle DiNovelli-Lang

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.

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Nature and Knowledge

Contemporary Ecologies of Value

Patrick Gallagher and Danielle DiNovelli-Lang

Current efforts to locate value in material nature arise from the contrary notion that there is no value in nature. The roots of this paradox are entangled with the birth of classical economics, which distinguished itself from what it deemed the superstitions of both its European past and the exotic elsewhere by claiming to have discovered that the wealth of nations lay not in land (as the physiocrats believed), nor in money (as the mercantilists thought), but in the productivity of human labor, which alone could make more of the “necessaries and conveniences of life” from a finite and basically inert natural substrate (Locke [1690] 1960). Once the productive capacity of the land was formally separated, or “disembedded,” from its particular natural qualities (Polanyi 1944), it became a puzzle to retroactively determine the value of the latter’s contribution to the overall means of production. The articles collected in the present volume each operate squarely in the context set by this classical riddle, which situates value, on the one hand, and nature, on the other, as the two absolutely necessary yet diametrically opposed elements of the modern political economy of “sustainability”.

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The Promise of Solutions from Increasing Diversity in Ways of Knowing

Educational Lessons from Meteorology, Ethnobotany, and Systems Ecology

Amy Freitag

The number of terms used for historically unrepresented types of knowledge in environmental management is large and growing. The emphasis on these “new” perspectives reflects a shift in how society values different ways of knowing. A primary reason behind this recognition of value is that fresh perspectives offer new problem framings, approaches to solutions, and linkages to other issues. Successes in collaborating across multiple knowledge domains have yielded new medicines, culturally appropriate regulations, and a better understanding of ecological dynamics, among others. These examples show the search for creative solutions cuts across disciplines, each of which has its own priorities, values, ethical practices, and approaches to knowledge creation. This review demonstrates how systems ecology, ethnobotany, and meteorology increase problem solving by legitimizing different ways of knowing. Pioneers in valuing nonscientific ways of knowing, they set the path forward for methods and theory used to inform research questions.

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David Meek

I focus on the role of agroecology in rural proletarian social movements in this article. First, I highlight these movements' conception of agroecology as an important element of their political ideology. Second, I explore the value of agroecology in helping maintain the permanence of the peasantry. Third, I show that rural proletarian movements emphasize agroecology because it is key to attaining sovereignty. I draw upon the geographic lenses of territory, the production of space, and autonomous geographies in positing these arguments. Throughout the article, I draw upon a case study of the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement, one of the most vocal agroecological social movements, to illustrate these arguments.

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Making Up for Lost Nature?

A Critical Review of the International Development of Voluntary Biodiversity Offsets

Sarah Benabou

This article analyzes the international development of voluntary biodiversity offsets, a conservation instrument that permits developers to pursue their activities if conservation actions are undertaken elsewhere to compensate for the environmental impacts of their projects. Largely undertaken by extractive industries that operate in the global South where no offsetting regulations exist, this tool is currently attracting growing interest from policy makers, private companies, financial institutions, and conservation experts. Building upon the concept of market framing developed by Callon (1998), I explore in what contexts and through what processes this idea has gathered momentum, as well as the disturbing gap between the way it has been framed and its practical implementation. It is suggested that once immersed in the outside world, the market framing of offsets appears as a fragile result dependent upon substantial investments, which casts serious doubts about offsets' ability to reduce biodiversity loss on technical, governance, and social grounds.

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The Afterlives of Degraded Tropical Forests

New Value for Conservation and Development

Jenny E. Goldstein

An extensive body of research in the natural and social sciences has assessed the social, economic, and ecological causes of tropical forest degradation and forests' subsequent reduction in value. This article, however, takes the afterlives of degraded forests as its point of departure to ask how they are being reconsidered as valuable through conservation and development potential. Through a critical review of recent biophysical and social science literature on tropical forest degradation, this article first assesses the definitional and methodological foundations of tropical forest degradation. It then suggests that recent scholarship on the reincorporation of waste and wasteland into capitalist circuits of production offers one route to consider the value of degraded forests. Finally, this article reviews some of the ways in which these tropical forests are being considered economically and/or ecologically valuable through current conservation and developmental trajectories.

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Sarah Lyon, Mary Kelaita, Celia Lowe, L. Jen Shaffer, Christopher R. Cox, Constanza Ocampo-Raeder, James Finley, Barbara Rose Johnston, Amelia Fiske, Alex Blanchette, Julie A. Shepherd-Powell, Peter W. Stahl, Christopher Jarrett and Amber R. Huff

ALKON, Alison Hope, Black, White, and Green: Farmers Markets, Race, and the Green Economy

CORMIER, Loretta, The Ten-Thousand Year Fever: Rethinking Human and Wild-Primate Malarias

DOBSON, Andrew, Kezia BARKER, and Sarah TAYLOR, Biosecurity: The Sociopolitics of Invasive Species and Infectious Disease

FOWLER, Cynthia, Ignition Stories: Indigenous Fire Ecology in the Indo-Australian Monsoon Zone

HUBER, Matthew T., Lifeblood: Oil, Freedom, and the Forces of Capital

KANE, Stephanie, Where the Rivers Meet the Sea: The Political Ecology of Water

KILCUP, Karen, Fallen Forests: Emotion, Embodiment, and Ethics in American Women's Environmental Writing, 1781–1924

KRUPAR, Shiloh R., Hot Spotter's Report: Military Fables of Toxic Waste

MORTON, Timothy, Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the World

NAGY, Kelsi, and Phillip David JOHNSON II, eds., Trash Animals: How We Live with Nature's Filthy, Feral, Invasive, and Unwanted Species

REECE, Erik, and James J. KRUPA, The Embattled Wilderness: The Natural and Human History of Robinson Forest and the Fight for Its Future

ROSTAIN, Stéphen, Islands in the Rainforest: Landscape Management in Pre-Columbian Amazonia

SIEBERT, Stephen F., The Nature and Culture of Rattan: Reflections on Vanishing Life in the Forests of Southeast Asia

SODIKOFF, Genese Marie, Forest and Labor in Madagascar: From Colonial Concession to Global Biosphere

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The Anthropocene

A Critical Exploration

Amelia Moore

The Anthropocene is everywhere in academia. There are Anthropocene journals, Anthropocene courses, Anthropocene conferences, Anthropocene panels, Anthropocene podcasts, and more. It is very safe to say that the Anthropocene is having a moment. But is this just a case of fifteen minutes of fame, name recognition, and bandwagon style publishing? The authors in this issue of ARES think not, and we would like to help lend a critical sensibility to the anthropological consideration of the concept and its dissemination.

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Hannah Gibson and Sita Venkateswar

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.