Accepted Paper:

'Bringing wood to life': lines, flows and materials in Swazi timber production and the environment as unbounded epistemic space  
Vito Laterza (University of Agder)

Paper long abstract:

Ingold's recent work on lines, properties of materials and flows of life has the potential to radically reconfigure social scientific understandings of the interactions among humans, other living forms and the environment as a whole. Inspired by Ingold and Oyama's critiques of the nature-culture dichotomy, this paper aims to apply Ingold's phenomenology of lines and flows to make sense of the multi-dimensional systemic interactions of wood in all its organic life-forms in Bulembu, Swaziland. This is an ex-mining town currently being redeveloped as a Pentecostal Christian sustainable business project with the primary mission of providing care for orphans while producing economic wealth from activities such as timber logging and plank production. Agency as a 'magical' power to be found within subjects and objects is here discarded in favour of a systemic view that locates Swazi workers, business missionaries, social developers, knowledge producers, local forests, industrial machinery, spirit entities and physical landscapes within the same environment.

Panel IW007
Beyond the biological and the social: anthropology as the study of human becomings