Dirty stories: towards a narrativist anthropology of pollution 
Mary Mostafanezhad (University of Hawaii at Manoa)
Roger Norum (University of Oulu)
Anna Lora-Wainwright (University of Oxford)
Queen Elizabeth House (QEH) SR2
Start time:
20 September, 2018 at 9:00 (UTC+0)
Session slots:

Short Abstract:

This panel questions forms and systems of "pollutants" by exploring how narratives mediate social relations amidst socio-environmentally pollutive events, states and agents. Papers examine the narratives/imaginations that speak to sensory materialities of pollution in its multiple forms and spaces.

Long Abstract

In the 1960s Mary Douglas demonstrated that environmental knowledge is culturally mediated by systems of classification that identify pollution as matter out of place, shaping behaviors and producing human beings. Social science scholarship over the past decade on the politics of pollution has examined how pollution is differently understood, experienced and governed across diverse socio-cultural contexts. Scholars have written about materialities of pollution that go far beyond mere environmentally destructive effluent, considering also rampant hyperproductions of auditory, visual, olfactory, tactile and even discursive, epistemological stimuli that register as "matter out of place". In such spaces, anthropologists have drawn attention to how corporeal practices of atmospheric consumption are affectively registered and re-imagined amidst spaces of abandonment. This raises new questions about how the materiality of pollution interacts with humans' embodied experience to co-constitute new environmental narratives that reshape social relations - particularly between so-called polluter and polluted. This panel aims to confront multiple forms of "pollutants" and their systems as a means of contesting binaries of auspicious and adverse by exploring how various forms of narrative mediate social relations in contexts of socio-environmentally pollutive events, processes, agents and states. We invite submissions that examine the narratives and imaginations that speak to the sensory materialities of pollution across a range of forms (e.g. noise, thermal, light, soil, etc.) and spaces.

Accepted papers: