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P126


(Un)making biodiversity in agricultural infrastructures 
Convenors:
Pieter Lagerwaard (University of Amsterdam)
Jenske Bal (Liege University)
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Discussant:
adam searle (University of Nottingham)
Format:
Traditional Open Panel

Short Abstract:

This panel explores how biodiversity is made and unmade in agricultural infrastructures. It invites contributions that explore how (non)human actors stabilize, make possible, or disrupt an infrastructure; the (im)mobilities of moving through it; and how we can understand the political stakes.

Long Abstract:

Increasing intensification of agriculture has, directly and indirectly, caused a higher risk of zoonosis, genetic diseases, deforestation, green deserts, and global warming. To counter these challenges, scientists, farmers, governments, and NGOs worldwide are working on (re)constructing infrastructures for food production, in which biodiversity and nature feature prominently. In this panel, we want to explore how biodiversity is made and unmade in the context of agricultural infrastructures.

The focus on infrastructures enables us to move away from reduced and static understandings of biodiversity. Rather than defining what biodiversity exactly is or how we as (social) scientists can or should understand it, we are interested in the multivarious ways in which it is (un)made and done by the actors themselves, in practice, using different techniques, definitions, quantifications, and technologies.

Over the last decades, STS scholars have started to pay (ethnographic) attention to infrastructures, and have shown that infrastructures are relational, political, and mediate social practice (Star, 1999; Larkin, 2013; Nieuwohner, 2015). Infrastructures are dynamic and rely on (in)visible labour for their maintenance and repair (Denis & Pontille, 2019). More recently, scholars have criticized the anthropocentric perspective on infrastructures in STS and have suggested exploring how more-than-humans become part of or shape infrastructures (Barua, 2021; Morita, 2016; Kanoi et al., 2022).

We embrace this critique and invite contributions that investigate how humans, more-than-humans and technologies take part in these infrastructures, and how their practice shapes how biodiversity or nature is done in the context of agriculture. We want to explore how (non)human actors stabilize, make possible, or disrupt an infrastructure; the ways in which infrastructures might relate or conflict; the (im)mobilities of moving through the infrastructure; the practices that are excluded; and how we can understand and recognize the political stakes that are at play, also those of non-humans.

Accepted papers: