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PHum04


Breaking the law(n). Cultural perspectives on invasiveness and alien species as actors of change 
Convenors:
Mattias Frihammar (Stockholm University)
Lars Kaijser (Stockholm University)
Katarina Saltzman (University of Gothenburg)
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Chair:
Katarina Saltzman (University of Gothenburg)
Stream:
Posthumanism
Format:
Panel
Sessions:
Tuesday 22 June, 14:00-15:45 (UTC+3)

Short Abstract:

Invasive Alien Species are agents of change, affecting the understanding of landscape and temporality. Striving to unpack the Invasive-Alien-Species-complex, this panel invite papers addressing alien invasive species as a societal/cultural phenomenon, as well as invasiveness as a cultural concept.

Long Abstract

Invasive alien species (henceforth IAS) are non-native animals, plants, and other organisms, so abundant that they displace other species in an area. In recent decades, the phenomenon has become the focus of scientific research and governmental attention, as well as sensation-driven media coverage. IAS evoke strong feelings, generating actions both against and in defense of their existence. Identified as threats to national biodiversity, landscapes, and economy, IAS affects different levels of society; they cause dedicated engagement among nature protection enthusiasts, they extort new regional and national regulations and legislation and they make supranational organizations such as UNESCO rally (in the name of biodiversity). As cultural and social aspects are decisive factors in the spreading, identification, and management of IAS, this should not be reduced to a problem of ecology. Ideas of landscape, tradition and heritage are pivotal in identifying IAS as threats.

This panel target IAS as agents of change, focusing on how they confront understandings of landscape and temporality. We strive to unpack the complex web of material, social, and cultural relations that constitute invasive alien species as societal challenge. How could introductions of animals and plants in the past and the present be culturally framed? What cultural and natural rules are IAS challenging? How are views of nature adapted when safeguarding boundaries from unwelcome inhabitants? How are landscapes redefined when traditional plants and animals are reinterpreted as invasive?

We invite papers addressing IAS as a societal/cultural phenomenon, as well as a dialogue on invasiveness as a cultural concept.

Accepted papers: