Click the star to add/remove an item to/from your individual schedule.
You need to be logged in to avail of this functionality, and to see the links to virtual rooms.

Accepted Paper:

Who cares? The Mexican Riviera Maya, Harmful Algae Bloom and Contested Responsibilities in the Anthropocene  
Laura Otto (Julius-Maximilians-University Würzburg)

Paper short abstract:

In this paper, I demonstrate based on my fieldwork in Mexico how responsibility for anthropogenic environmental change is contested, distributed and negotiated among different actors on the ground, including more-than-human actors.

Paper long abstract:

In the Anthropocene, coastal tourist paradises are under immense pressure in light of anthropogenic environmental change. This also holds true for the Mexican Riviera Maya, where Sargasso algae arrives in vast amounts. The algae color the water brown, cover the sandy beaches and contribute to environmental degradation. At times, Sargasso is viewed to be a natural phenomenon, at times to be a human-made natural disaster and at times as being both. Why the algae massively reproduce and why Sargasso beaches with increasing frequency is still contested among natural scientists. In a situation where the causes of the phenomenon remain unclear, different actors – hoteliers, politicians and tourists, among others – simultaneously negotiate who or what is responsible for Sargasso arrivals and its management along coastal zones. With reference to my ethnographic fieldwork in Mexico, I demonstrate how the notion of ‘responsibility’ is mobilized in multiple ways. I argue that responsibility in the Anthropocene must be viewed as contingent and situated as it is produced, distributed, and rejected among different actors. Phenomena such as harmful algae bloom that question the dichotomy of nature and culture help advance the debate on responsibility further in a way to grasp responsibility-making not solely as a human question.

Panel P16a
Visions of transformation in the Anthropocene: technology, political-moral imagination, and the cascading socio-environmental crises of the twenty-first century
  Session 1 Thursday 9 June, 2022, -