WORLD ANTHROPOLOGICAL UNION

CONGRESS 2024​

SELECTED PANEL

( pn43 )

Fostering Local Agency to Confront Environmental Issues: Global Forces, Local Conjunctures and Environmental Actants

Organizers

    Gregory Lawrence Acciaioli

    United States of America

    The University of Western Australia

    Face to Face/ On Site - Presence

    Dayabati ROY

    India

    University of Jyvaskyla

    Face to Face/ On Site - Presence

IUAES Affiliation: Anthropology and the Environment

Keywords:

environmental anthropology, custodial ethic, agency, sustainability, ontologies

Abstract:

One of the key issues in mobilising populaces to act on such pressing issues as global climate change and biodiversity loss is determining the factors that can motivate such socio-environmental action. One of the sources of inspiration for such action has been the recognition of the relational ontologies in Indigenous world views that have fostered a custodial ethic and thus an orientation to sustainability in human-environmental relations. However, there are many other sources and catalysts to environmental action and an ethic of care toward the environment, such as participation in environmental projects run by national or transnational nongovernmental conservation organisations or in environmentally oriented programmes run by schools, religious institutions and other civil society organisations. Agrawal (2005) has also highlighted from a Foucauldian perspective the operation of governmentality in creating environmentalist subjects. The influence of experiences of environmental threat or even catastrophes has also functioned to inspire subsequent environmental action. This panel seeks to assemble and assess accounts of such enabling factors from a wide variety of anthropological perspectives, ranging from ethnographic analyses of case studies of local agency in environmental concern to cross-cultural analysis of factors involved in environmental action. A partial, non-exhaustive list of topics and perspectives that may inform panel contributions include: The role of significant life experiences in fostering environmental sensitivity, responsibility and action; Productive engagements with and critical reactions to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in fostering local environmental agency; Case studies or theoretical critiques of the operation of environmentality in creating environmental subjects; The interaction of alternative ontologies with local contexts of environmental degradation; Roles of communitarian and other social movements in fostering local environmental action; The impact of the experience of disasters and schemes of disaster preparedness and recovery in raising environmental consciousness; Environmental action as a movement of decolonisation, and resistance against hegemonic capitalist regimes of resource exploitation; Environmental action in the context of subaltern experiences of loss of control over local environments previously under local authority; The role of the global Indigenous peoples’ movement in catalysing local environmental action; The role of civil society in fostering pro-environmental attitudes and actions. The panel invites conventional single- and joint presentations, as well as short films, short participatory discussions, and any innovative formats in keeping with the parameters set by the organising committee.