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Accepted Paper:

More-than-human dimension of climate activism: the case of German tree-sitting  
Claudia Terragni (University of Perugia)

Paper Short Abstract:

This paper engages with the multispecies assemblage of German activists and nonhuman entities, co-created through the tactic of tree-sitting. The aim is to highlight the empirical challenges of exploring this elusive form of more-than-human resistance as composed by entangled and hybrid subjects.

Paper Abstract:

This paper explores the relation that connects climate activists and the non-human natural entities they encounter through the practice of tree-sitting. Tree-sitting is a direct action tactic quite widespread across German environmental movements (Kroije 2019, 2020) and it involves living on structures built on trees, in order to prevent their cutting. On one hand, this contribution advances the thesis that tree-sits are places of multispecies assemblages (Tsing 2014, 2015) and companion species (Haraway 2003, 2008, 2016) that creates unexpected shapeshifting lifeforms. On the other hand, my aim is to bring to the light the difficulty to grasp this viscous strings figure (Haraway 2016). Based on an ongoing ethnographic study, my contribution addresses the methodological challenges, the theoretical risks, and the ethical doubts of engaging with this form of more-than-human resistance (Kurik 2022). In particular I would focus on the inconsistency of the neo-liberal notion of individual subject, which is unsuitable for inquiring the posthuman dimension of both activists and the occupied environment. Despite the uncertainty about its realism, I suggest that the material and affective coexistence of tree-sitters and trees, mud, and wild animals, makes them considerable as “entangled subjects”, embodying this more-than-human encounter and rendering them hybrid.

Panel P196
Uncertain methods, elusive lives: exploring the methodological and relational horizons of doing research with more-than-humans
  Session 1 Tuesday 23 July, 2024, -