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Hedging bets in more-than-human worlds: joint futures of veterinary and conservation interventions

Ludek Broz (The Czech Academy of Sciences)
Liana Chua (Brunel University London)
Advocacy and Activism
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Short abstract:

This panel seeks to ethnographically explore and theorise how veterinary medicine and conservation jointly build capacity to act in the present by referring to various futures. It asks how veterinary and conservation interventions hedge their respective bets on future regardless of actual outcomes.

Long abstract:

As more-than-human regimes of value and governance, veterinary and conservation interventions overlap and intersect in numerous ways. For example, veterinary care is often key to conservation projects, such as endangered species monitoring programmes and rehabilitation centres that aim to 'return' rescued animals to 'the wild'. Veterinary authority and logics also legitimate biosecurity measures that seek to protect 'native' flora and fauna from 'invasive' species. Both fields, moreover, are constitutively structured around anticipatory devices, such as pre-emptive biosecurity restrictions, programmes for vaccinations, euthanasia or reproduction, and predictions of likely population trends. We invite panellists to ask how the future in conservation and/or veterinary medicine serves as a 'guiding trope in the present' (Nielsen 2014), and on what temporal scales it is located, or indeed evacuated (Guyer 2010). We seek contributions that empirically/ethnographically flesh out how the two fields (separately or jointly) build their capacity to imagine, foresee, speculate, and predict, so as to intervene, act upon, enact, precipitate or prevent different versions of the future. Specifically, we encourage curiosity about the structural, political, imaginative and other means through which the two fields build authority and hedge their bets on various futures—particularly in situations where there is a significant risk of failure or being proved wrong.

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