Some anthropologists have argued that Euro-American culture is naturalist, anchored to the belief in a coherent, unitary universe in which natural laws operate. From a close ethnographic inspection, however, the allegedly naturalist sciences emerge as heterogeneous practices, engaging with complex and not quite coherent objects. Following one such object - an earthworm - allows me to show that the earthworm science that studies it has no univocal object, but rather one that is multiple. At the same time, scientists successfully engage in practices that seek to hold together the incoherent earthworm/s and the world/s in which it is/they are being practised. It is in this way that coherence may still be achieved. Exploring the gaps between multiple ontologies and coordinating practices allows for the emergence of a sharper, practice-attentive understanding of science and its naturalist achievements. If it is true that a single, unitary Nature is nowhere to be found, the analysis presented here shows how a transient, contingent, multiple, and - yet - still bound-together nature may result from careful coordination practices.
Crawling between Natures
Valuing Marginalized Environmental Knowledges in the Face of the Neoliberalization of Nature and Science
Brian J. Burke and Nik Heynen
Citizen science and sustainability science promise the more just and democratic production of environmental knowledge and politics. In this review, we evaluate these participatory traditions within the context of (a) our theorization of how the valuation and devaluation of nature, knowledge, and people help to produce socio-ecological hierarchies, the uneven distribution of harms and benefits, and inequitable engagement within environmental politics, and (b) our analysis of how neoliberalism is reworking science and environmental governance. We find that citizen and sustainability science often fall short of their transformative potential because they do not directly confront the production of environmental injustice and political exclusion, including the knowledge hierarchies that shape how the environment is understood and acted upon, by whom, and for what ends. To deepen participatory practice, we propose a heterodox ethicopolitical praxis based in Gramscian, feminist, and postcolonial theory and describe how we have pursued transformative praxis in southern Appalachia through the Coweeta Listening Project.
Language and its relation to culture has been a topic of research in German Volkskunde [folklore studies] from the beginning of the discipline. While dialectological studies, linguistic specificities of local cultures and language in everyday life have been integral parts of Volkskunde for much of the first part of the twentieth century, the discipline saw a shift away from its philological elements towards a social science orientation in post-Second World War developments. During the last decades, the analysis of linguistic dimensions of everyday culture has been on the margin of scholarly activities in Volkskunde. Starting with a historic perspective on the role of language in the beginnings of the discipline, this article discusses the development and decrease of the study of linguistic aspects. It analyses the role of language in contemporary German Volkskunde both in theory and methodology, and offers perspectives on how the discipline could benefit from a renewed focus on linguistic dimensions of everyday culture.
Reaching Bedrock in Climate Science
-and-white images with the official field diary and press release photograph of the same event accentuates the somewhat troubled relationship between science and science studies. Recently, Latour (2013: 12) has argued that “the very words ‘network’ and
John Bendix and Niklaus Steiner
Although political asylum has been at the forefront of contemporary
German politics for over two decades, it has not been much discussed
in political science. Studying asylum is important, however,
because it challenges assertions in both comparative politics and
international relations that national interest drives decision-making.
Political parties use national interest arguments to justify claims that
only their agenda is best for the country, and governments argue
similarly when questions about corporatist bargaining practices arise.
More theoretically, realists in international relations have posited
that because some values “are preferable to others … it is possible to
discover, cumulate, and objectify a single national interest.” While
initially associated with Hans Morgenthau’s equating of national
interest to power, particularly in foreign policy, this position has
since been extended to argue that states can be seen as unitary rational
actors who carefully calculate the costs of alternative courses of
action in their efforts to maximize expected utility.
Postcolonial studies and postsocialism in Eastern Europe
The introduction to this special section explores the ways in which postcolonial studies contribute a deeper understanding of postsocialist change in Central and Eastern Europe. Since the collapse of socialism, anthropological and other social science studies of Eastern Europe have highlighted deep divides between “East” and “West” and drawn attention to the ways in which socialist practices persist into the postsocialist period. We seek to move beyond discourses of the East/West divide by examining the postsocialist context through the lens of postcolonial studies. We look at four aspects of postcolonial studies and explore their relevance for understanding postsocialist Eastern Europe: orientalism, nation and identity, hybridity, and voice. These themes are particular salient from the perspective of gender and sexuality, key concepts through which both postcolonialism and postsocialism can be understood. We thus pay particular attention to the exchange of ideas between East/West, local/global, and national/international arenas.
Mobility Studies, a Transdisciplinary Field
can give these issues a voice. In an article on science, geopolitics, and research assessment, Tereza Stöckelová recently observed that “science policies and science studies largely share an understanding of scientific knowledge and objects as
Thinking with Salmon Otoliths and Scales
Heather Anne Swanson
conceptual orientations and assumptions.” Engaging Epistemological and Political Challenges Feminist science studies provides some clues for how we might engage epistemological and political challenges. Through its attention to the ways that race, class, and
Environmental Sociology Meets Science and Technology Studies
Rolf Lidskog and Göran Sundqvist
discussions about what should be done and what kind of society we want ( S. Beck 2011 ; see also Pielke 2007 ). Hence, we find in social science studies on environmental problems a paradoxical emphasis on both science dependency and science dissolution
Australian Protest in a Social Movement Society
Ben Hightower and Scott East
collective movements. To frame his approach to the practices of the festival organizers and the community, Garbutt draws on the work of science studies scholar Isabelle Stengers. Originally developed from closely following the work of scientists, a science