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Accepted Paper:

Care ‘full’ multi-species cities? Overcoming human/nonhuman conflicts through caring for urban insects  
Ferne Edwards (City, University of London)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores the multi-species city and the emergence of care in conservation through urban beekeeping and native bee conservation practices.

Paper long abstract:

It is widely recognized that nature in cities no longer conforms to an idealized vision of pristine wilderness. Urbanization destroys habitats that support nonhuman species, while the city becomes a potential site of refuge as it morphs into a novel ecosystem (Collier and Dewitt 2016). This urban evolution introduces possibilities for human/nonhuman coexistence: cities can benefit from endemic and exotic species (Marris 2013), while visibility of diverse natures can encourage people to become more aware, attentive and care ‘full’ towards a wider world (Soga and Gaston 2016). In this sense, the city becomes a multi-species commons: a shared, more-than-human space where new entanglements proliferate.

However, such heightened proximities also introduce potential tensions between human and nonhuman residents. This paper explores conflicts, opportunities and the emergence of care between urban beekeepers and native bee conservation practices. City bees navigate changing identities and values whilst stirring human emotions: occupying territories of exotic versus endemic, they elicit hope through pollination and urban greening, solidarity through social practices, or conversely, can cause grief, anger and fear through Colony Collapse Disorder, swarms and stings. This paper explores how people are both ‘common-ing across’ into insect worlds, while questioning how care is or could be expressed between wild and domesticated bees in the multi-species city. This paper draws on qualitative research of beekeeping conducted in Australian and Norwegian cities, complemented by citizen science projects from around the world. By examining intersecting perspectives around bees, this paper seeks to understand how care can contribute to urban conservation.

Panel P080b
'Taking care together': Conservation as more-than-human commoning II
  Session 1 Tuesday 26 July, 2022, -