Accepted Paper:

Encountering plantiness: materiality and agency in human-plant relations  


Lesley Head (University of Melbourne)
Jennifer Atchison (University of Wollongong)
Catherine Phillips (University of Wollongong)

Paper short abstract:

We analyse the characteristics of ‘plantiness’, and discuss their implications for plant agency and human-plant relations.

Paper long abstract:

The more-than-human turn in the social sciences has focused more on human relations with animals than plants. In this paper we push these discussions further by paying attention to the category 'plant', and by trying to take plants seriously on their own terms. Since what counts as a plant is contingent and has evolved over time, we consider first plantiness as the diverse material expression of five characteristics and capacities, collected in a living organism. Plantiness helps make humanness possible but it does not need humans. We then consider how plantiness structures plant agency, and what this means for two types of encounter - the ethnographic encounter, and that between humans and plants. Examples are drawn from our field research in Australia and Canada.

Panel P22
Knowing plants