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FRIHUMSAM-Fri prosj.st. hum og sam

Ecological Globalisation; Domestication beyond control

Alternative title: Økologisk globalisering; Domestisering ute av kontroll

Awarded: NOK 1.6 mill.

This proposed project is part of a long-term strategy at the Department of Social Anthropology to strengthen and develop the existing research groups ‘Domestication’ and ‘Overheating’, and to enhance collaborative and joined efforts between these research groups. This includes measures to tighten the integration and collaboration between senior and junior scholars, and international scholars, focusing in particular on training and career development through a series of PhD courses that will be open to PhD candidates nationally and internationally. The proposal seeks to do so through a focus on current global challenges related to (and resulting from) industrial food production, i.e. current regimes of agri- and aquaculture. Research on domestication concluded that conventional approaches to domestication fail to appreciate the rich plethora of relational practices that are unpredictable and beyond control, and that the impact of domestication practices reach far beyond a spatially bounded ‘domus’. Instead, ecological transformations are in fact transcontinental and transoceanic. The standardisation and scaling-up of economic activities, including food production, is also a key concern within the Overheating perspective. The project will combine these insights and focus on how decisions about food and feed have global repercussions, including rampant destruction of rainforests, loss of human livelihoods as well as more subtle species extinctions as land is dispossessed, and habitats are transformed mobilized as a resource for global agricultural industry investors.

This proposed project is part of a long-term strategy at the Department of Social Anthropology to strengthen and develop the existing research groups ‘Domestication’ and ‘Overheating’ with excellent scores in the SAMEVAL evaluation, and to enhance collaborative and joined efforts between these research groups. This includes measures to tighten the integration and collaboration between senior and junior scholars, and international scholars, focusing in particular on training and career development, through a series of PhD courses that will be open to PhD candidates nationally and internationally. The proposal seeks to do so through a focus on current global challenges related to, (and resulting from) industrial food production, i.e. current regimes of agri- and aquaculture, their ecological impact and their economic basis. Research on domestication concluded that conventional approaches to domestication fail to appreciate the rich plethora of relational practices that are unpredictable and beyond control, and that the impact of domestication practices reach far beyond a spatially bounded ‘domus’ (field, habitat). Instead, ecological transformations are in fact transcontinental and transoceanic. The standardisation and scaling-up of economic activities, including food production, is also a key concern within the Overheating perspective. This reminds us that decisions about how to feed ourselves are indeed political, with global repercussions. The effects are not only rampant destruction of rain forests, but also more subtle species extinctions as habitats are degraded and transformed to an agricultural ‘resource’ to be measured, evaluated and made profitable for short-term human desires. Thus, the focus will be on both human food and animal feed, and the ways in which both are entangled with various habitats, environmental challenges and financial and corporate interests.

Funding scheme:

FRIHUMSAM-Fri prosj.st. hum og sam