Accepted Paper:

Modeling Amazonian environments: some ethnographic considerations on the science-policy interface in Brazil  


Marko Monteiro (State University of Campinas)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores results from an ethnography of a large-scale scientific project aimed at integrating modeling and early alerts in the Brazilian Amazon. The paper will argue that science policy interface in this case relates to the challenges of modeling human and natural phenomena in an integrated manner.

Paper long abstract:

The Amazon region in Brazil is the site of many large-scale international scientific collaborative projects aimed at understanding, evaluating and modeling the dynamics of climate and the environment, with an important interest in deforestation. Recently, some projects are beginning to pay more attention to how human decisions impact such phenomena; this is related to both scientific concerns on how to improve modeling of the region's dynamics and to the need to better interface with policies aimed at the region. This article will explore results from an ongoing ethnography focusing on one such large-scale project, which has as its objectives to integrate modeling and early alerts that can be incorporated into decision-making in the Amazon. Among the dilemmas faced by the project's researchers is how to model human decisions, as such modeling would entail forms of measuring such human dynamics which are far from clear. The interplay between modeling human and natural phenomena and trying to build science and technology that can influence policy decisions can be seen as one key feature in how such projects are conducted and how they interface with policies and policy makers. The difficulties in establishing dialogue between different disciplines, as well as between scientists and other publics (such as policy makers) can be a fruitful field for further studies in science-policy interface within STS and anthropology.

Panel P041
Scientific lifeworlds