Author:Louise Rebecca Senior (University of Aberdeen)
Paper short abstract:
This paper focuses on social relationships with wind in northern Scotland. I describe everyday experiences of gardening in the wind. I contend that paying attention to this neglected aspect of being helps to develop more holistic anthropological analyses of human-environment relationships.
Paper long abstract:
Our relationship with the wind is such a familiar experience that it tends to be unremarked upon, almost disregarded in its ordinariness. Yet, as Ingold (2007, 2011) points out, the wind is the medium in which life is lived, influencing our capacity to see, to hear, to smell and to touch.
During ethnographic fieldwork in the far north of Scotland, I encountered many instances of how people incorporate an intimate knowledge of the wind into their everyday practices, from forestry and gardening to surfing and energy production.
I will use a focus on gardening practices to illustrate how the wind participates as an actor in its own right within the relationships of which it is a part, facilitating a continual dialogue of force and resistance, adaptation and compromise, drawing our attention to a notion of life as continually regulated by the surrounding world.
I argue that wind can be understood both as an influence that mediates action and as subject to influence by actions. Thus, everyday understandings of the wind are primarily practical, developed in relation to specific tasks and places.
Force, change and readjustment: weather and energy