Humming together in harmony: heightened proximities between honeybees and humans in the city
Ferne Edwards (RMIT Europe)
Paper short abstract:
Explores how honeybees and humans sense each other in the city, and how the senses can help harmonize urban human and nonhuman interactions.
Paper long abstract:
Jesús Manzano, president of the association, EcoColmena, recently stated: "Beekeeping in upcoming years will either be urban or there will be no beekeeping" (Jornada de Apicultura Urbana, Valencia, 19/10/2018). This statement highlights how humans need bees for pollination of food crops, while factors such as climate change, colony collapse, pest, disease and food insecurity, all support the need to introduce and integrate beekeeping within cities. Correspondingly, urban hobby beekeepers are increasing in number around the world whose close attention to a small numbers of hives using a range of methods provide socio-environmental co-benefits for humans and honeybee alike. However, heightened proximity can create conflict with the general public who often remain fearful of bee swarms and stings. Drawing on Ingold's concept of dwelling (Johnston 2008), I argue that bees in the city is not just about 'being' but about 'being with' (Bingham 2006: 492), where affect theory offers ways of 'being with' by sensing the 'other'. While much has been written in affect theory about taste, this paper seeks to explore how sound shapes our perceptions to overcome boundaries between humans and non-humans. Based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted with beekeepers in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia, this paper explores the connections between humans and honeybees through sound that can bring back bees, food and nature within the city.
- Body, Affects, Senses, Emotions