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Accepted Paper:

Interbeings Relationships in the Rights of Nature Networks: Indigenous Performances, Ecorituals and Alternative Spiritualities  
Jean Chamel (Université de Lausanne)

Paper short abstract:

The global networks promoting the attribution of a legal personality to natural entities invent rituals to perform a communion with Earth beings. They draw inspiration from indigenous people and from the cultic milieu of alternative spiritualities.

Paper long abstract:

The idea of granting rights to natural entities and Mother Earth is increasing worldwide since the inclusion of such rights in the Ecuadorian constitution of 2008. Recently, new laws and legal decisions have provided rivers with rights in New Zealand, India and Columbia.

The ethnography of the global networks that promote these rights shows that the legal aspects are only one dimension of their commitment, which is directed by an alternative, ecocentric, being-in-the-world. Their conception of the world as a web of life, made of interdependent beings that all have intrinsic value also draw inspiration from indigenous cosmologies.

More specifically, invented ecorituals, that echo the practices of indigenous people and of the movement for their rights, are performed to enact interbeings relationships with the natural entities to be defended.

The visual presentation of several ceremonies will be analysed using the relational approach to ritual developed by Michael Houseman to address the issues of ritual innovation, performativity and legitimacy.

Panel P080
(Re)connecting with Earth Beings: ritual innovation and affective entanglements in contemporary ecopolitics