Env01
Dwelling in an evanescent landscape: people's strategies to deal with chronical uncertainty

Convenors:
Emilie Stoll (Institut de Recherche pour le Développement)
Edna Alencar (Federal University of Pará - UFPA)
Discussant:
Mark Harris (University of St Andrews)
Stream:
Environment
Location:
KWZ 0.606
Start time:
27 March, 2017 at 8:30
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

The aim of this panel is to compare ethnographic case studies discussing the different strategies and ways of dwelling in landscapes intrinsically characterized by cyclical and/or chronical climatic instability, such as floodplains, frozen plains, sandy dunes, or tectonic environments.

Long abstract:

Many studies on land cover change already show how the anthropogenic transformation of the landscape (for ex. deforestation) affects - often negatively - autochthonous populations' cultural practices and their ways of life. Our panel will rather focus on case studies in which the landscape transformation is inherent to the local ecosystem's dynamic. Many societies live in extremely instable environments, which suffer from drastic cyclical changes and/or chronical instability that may lead to sudden destruction. Examples of this are floodplains which are seasonally covered by the water and whose islands are periodically washed away by the flow; or iced lands or arctic landscapes (floe, glacier) subject to seasonal and chronical melting; and many other dynamic landscapes such as sandy landscapes misshapen by the wind, dunes landscapes hit by erosion, tectonic environments regularly destroyed by earthquake, eruptions, etc. How then do local populations deal with the recurrent, albeit unpredictable and constant transformations and/or destructions of their landscapes? Global has in recent years increased the frequency and intensity of extraordinary climatic events (such as large floods, ice melting, tsunamis, tornados, etc.) and challenged local knowledge of predicting uncertainty. Contributions may also discuss how local populations interpret and adjust to these new issues in their ways of dwelling. We will welcome papers in English / French / Portuguese discussing how the transformational dynamic at stake in various types of landscapes (wetlands, ice, sand, etc.) informs people's lives and ways of dwelling.