Knowing Nature: Conversations at the Intersection of Political Ecology and Science Studies

Paperback | April 15, 2011

EditorMara J. Goldman

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Political ecology and science studies have found fertile meeting ground in environmental studies. While the two distinct areas of inquiry approach the environment from different perspectives—one focusing on the politics of resource access and the other on the construction and perception of knowledge—their work is actually more closely aligned now than ever before.

            
Knowing Nature brings together political ecologists and science studies scholars to showcase the key points of encounter between the two fields and how this intellectual mingling creates a lively and more robust ecological framework for the study of environmental politics. The contributors all actively work at the interface between these two fields, and here they use empirical material to explore questions of theoretical and practical import for understanding the politics that surround nature-society relations, from wildlife management in the Yukon to soil fertility in Kenya. In addition, they examine how various environmental knowledge claims are generated, packaged, promoted, and accepted (or rejected) by the different actors involved in specific cases of environmental management, conservation, and development. Finally, they ask what is at stake in the struggles surrounding environmental knowledge, how such struggles shape conceptions of the environment, and whose interests are served in the process.

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Political ecology and science studies have found fertile meeting ground in environmental studies. While the two distinct areas of inquiry approach the environment from different perspectives—one focusing on the politics of resource access and the other on the construction and perception of knowledge—their work is actually more closely ...

Mara J. Goldman is assistant professor of geography at the University of Colorado–Boulder. Paul Nadasdy is associate professor of anthropology and American Indian studies at Cornell University. Matthew D. Turner is professor of geography at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:376 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.9 inPublished:April 15, 2011Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226301419

ISBN - 13:9780226301419

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Table of Contents

 Introduction
 Mara J. Goldman and Matthew D. Turner
Part 1

PRODUCTION OF ENVIRONMENTAL KNOWLEDGE: SCIENTISTS, COMPLEX NATURES, AND THE QUESTION OF AGENCY

Introduction
Matthew D. Turner

1 Politicizing Environmental Explanations: What Can Political Ecology Learn from Sociology and Philosophy of Science?
Tim Forsyth

2 Debating the Science of Using Marine Turtles: Boundary Work among Species Experts
Lisa M. Campbell

3 Technobiological Imaginaries: How Do Systems Biologists Know Nature?
Joan H. Fujimura

4 Agency, Structuredness, and the Production of Knowledge within Intersecting Processes
 Peter J. Taylor

5 Fermentation, Rot, and Other Human-Microbial Performances
Mrill Ingram

6 Ferricrete, Forests, and Temporal Scale in the Production of Colonial Science in Africa
Chris Duvall
Part 2

APPLYING ENVIRONMENTAL KNOWLEDGE: THE POLITICS OF CONSTRUCTING SOCIETY/NATURE

Introduction
Paul Nadasdy

7 “We Don’t Harvest Animals; We Kill Them”: Agricultural Metaphors and the Politics of Wildlife Management in the Yukon 
Paul Nadasdy

8 Political Violence and Scientific Forestry: Emergencies, Insurgencies, and Counterinsurgencies in Southeast Asia
Peter Vandergeest and Nancy Lee Peluso

9 Spatial-Geographic Models of Water Scarcity and Supply in Irrigation Engineering and Management: Bolivia, 1952–2009
Karl Zimmerer

10 The Politics of Connectivity across Human-Occupied Landscapes: A Look at Corridors near Nairobi National Park, Kenya
Mara J. Goldman

Part 3

CIRCULATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL KNOWLEDGE: NETWORKS, EXPERTISE, AND SCIENCE IN PRACTICE

Introduction
Mara J. Goldman

11 Rooted Networks, Webs of Relation, and the Power of Situated Science: Bringing the Models Back Down to Earth in Zambrana
Dianne Rocheleau

12 Circulating Science, Incompletely Regulating Commodities: Governing from a Distance in Transnational Agro-food Networks
Ryan E. Galt

13 Reclaiming the Technological Imagination: Water, Power, and Place in India
Roopali Phadke

14 Circulating Knowledge, Constructing Expertise
Rebecca Lave

15 Experiments as “Performances”: Interpreting Farmers’ Soil Fertility Management Practices in Western Kenya
Joshua J. Ramisch

Conclusion
Matthew D. Turner

References
List of Contributors
Index

Editorial Reviews

“At a time when conservation, climate change, and poverty are merging into a single global agenda; when through a complex institutional alchemy biodiversity is being reduced to carbon; when the resolute clarity of models routinely elide complexity and erase the particularity of place; and when place-based conservation is giving way to market-based mechanisms that encompass production landscapes—it is imperative that existing approaches to knowing nature be reconsidered. Knowing Nature explores the confluence of political ecology and science and technology studies and in doing so challenges our understanding of the politics of knowledge and the making of nature(s).”