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Accepted Paper:

Beyond analogy: thinking resilience with mushrooms  
Petr Gibas (Institute of Sociology of the Czech Academy of Sciences) Karel Šima (Charles University in Prague)

Paper short abstract:

Drawing on post-humanist insights, we look at mushrooms as non-human others and ask how to explore non-human entanglements (of and around mushrooms) in order to enhance the notion of resilience without reverting to thinking in terms of analogies (and metaphors).

Paper long abstract:

Within social sciences, mushrooms have been studied in relation to their cultural, societal and economic roles by both ethnomycology and anthropology. Fungi, as omnipresent and resilient organisms have also been picked up as exemplary within imaginaries of resilience alongside other non-humans. Fungi, especially in the form of mushrooms, have often been conceived by anthropologists and other social scientist as a part of natural-technological networks that open new ways of creating sustainable economies and environments and to envision how to live and survive on a damaged planet. For example, mushrooms have been placed within the commodity chains and used to explore the more-than-human properties of existing and emerging political economies and to (re)frame academic and public responses to the many challenges of Anthropocene. In our paper, we seek to interrogate the ways, in which mushrooms – as one of many types of resilient organisms – function in relation to the idea and imaginary of resilience. We explore the properties of mushrooms in (not only) academic accounts and show that despite the move towards the living materiality of fungi, they are often evoked in analogous terms; drawing on post-humanist insights (about more-than-human entanglements and ongoing intra-acting), we look at mushrooms as non-human others rather than as samples or examples. Are there ways of thinking resilience through non-humans without reverting to analogy (i.e. examples and metaphors)? If so, how can we explore non-human entanglements (of and around mushrooms) in order to enhance the notion of resilience.

Panel P138b
Re-thinking resilience through more-than-human entanglements
  Session 1 Thursday 28 July, 2022, -