Accepted Paper:

Knowledge production towards local sustainable futures: transformative types of research and a potential role of anthropology  


Anja Katharina Salzer (Free University of Bolzano)

Paper short abstract:

Transformative research is a response to global challenges combing understanding and action. The role of anthropology in such processes of knowledge production towards sustainable local futures will be discussed at the example of a project on biodiversity and pasture-use in Georgia/South Caucasus.

Paper long abstract:

The planetary boundaries are not only under pressure but exceeded in many ways. Especially mountain regions such as the Caucasus, are threatened by a multitude of challenges. In particular the loss of biodiversity due to climate change and land use changes are affecting local living.

Transformative types of research are a response to complex issues in research and practice (such as the loss of biodiversity) aiming on the development of sustainable, practical solutions. Thereby not only the boundaries between different disciplines are exceeded, but also those people involved in the process of knowledge production, that are affected by problems or changes. Yet transformative research is combining understanding and action but also reflecting its own institutional conditionality.

Drawing on the example of a transdisciplinary research project on pasture management and socio-ecological diversity in the Javakheti Highland of Georgia / South Caucasus, the question is to be developed how transition processes towards local sustainability could be facilitated. This also implies the questioning of the role of research and research-practice as such. Not only the future of Anthropology, but also the future itself lies in a responsible and democratic co-production of knowledge targeted on sustainable local transformation processes.

The paper will provide insights into the ongoing empirical research process and critically discuss challenges and potentials in terms of knowledge production, cooperation and integration that arise from transdisciplinary work on sustainable transition processes with multi-ethnic actors in Georgia. Thereby in particular role and future of Anthropology in such processes will be reflected.

Panel P039
Anthropological perspectives on environmental change and sustainable futures (Commission on Anthropology and the Environment)