Accepted paper:

Ecosystems in-the-making: exploring liminal ecosystemic formations

Authors:

Segolene Guinard (Université Paris 8)
Anna-Katharina Laboissière (Ecole Normale Supérieure)

Paper short abstract:

Drawing from postnatural inquiries, such as outer space habitats and novel ecosystems, the authors will discuss the limits and possible futures of an ecosystemical approach in anthropology and philosophy when engaging with disrupted ecologies.

Paper long abstract:

The authors of this paper will collectively discuss the limits and possible futures of an ecosystemical approach in anthropology and philosophy, at the crossroads of their research subjects. Ecosystemic approaches have enabled a connection between social and natural sciences through their emphasis on exchanges of information, matter and energy that weave together abiotic and biotic beings, mind and matter, without relying on a an a priori differentiation between human and non-human, or even between life and non-life. However, the emphasis on self-organization, retro-action and regulation through feedback loops that cybernetics instilled into the concept of ecosystem is certainly an obstacle to apprehending disrupted ecologies, where systems of all kind (biomes, societies, capitalism) have become strikingly unbalanced. If ecosystems are constantly changing for "survival" (Bateson), how can we understand those alterations without eluding that which is lost, which remains unredeemable (or : exhausted, Povinelli 2012) ? How can we speculate about present futures, that is : ecosystems in-the-making ? Drawing from postnatural inquiries, such as outer space habitats and the emergence of what has been called novel ecosystems, defined as self-sustaining ecosystems having their origin in human agency and significantly altered species, the authors will examine whether the notion of ecosystem should be renewed, used or associated to more muddy concepts in order to engage with those emerging relationships to land, earth, and home, whatever those terms may come to mean and encompass in postnatural spaces.

panel P034
Ecosystem as concept, legacy, and (sustainable) futures