Accepted Paper:

Bridging the nature-culture divide: climate perceptions, global encounters and anthropogenic dilemmas in the Peruvian Andes  


Karsten Paerregaard (University of Gothenburg)

Paper short abstract:

The paper examines climate perceptions in an Andean community. It argues that even though the environmental impact of climate change is of great concern to the villagers they refute the idea of an anthropogenic world, which they find affirms rather than overcomes the nature-culture divide.

Paper long abstract:

Climate change is increasingly viewed as a global phenomenon that connects people around the world and makes their lives mutually interdependent. Many also associate climate change with the Anthropocene, a planet produced at least partly by humans. Few if any in the modern world are unaffected by these imaginaries of global climate change out of control but the way people understand its causes and account for the role humans play in it varies considerably. This paper examines climate perceptions in an Andean community and discusses how the population accounts for changes in the climate which they consider increasingly unreliable. It reviews ethnographic field data gathered through ongoing fieldwork since the mid-1980s to explore how global imaginaries of climate change challenge the villagers' ideas about the nature and culture. It argues that even though the villagers have adopted the global vocabulary on climate change and express growing concern for the impact their own lifestyle has on the environment they reject the idea that human activities in other parts of the world contribute to the environmental problems they currently are facing in the community. The paper concludes that even though the villagers' reluctance to subscribe to the global discourse of climate change and the idea of an Anthropocene world it generates makes them look like the companions of climate skeptics in the developed world, their reasons for questioning the discourse are very different.

Panel P034
Rethinking research topics in the Anthropocene: anthropological collaborations in global environmental change