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EASA Environment and anthropology network (Environet)

The network was founded in 2018, to provide a platform for exchange among EASA members involved in teaching and research in environmental and ecological anthropology and to function as an outreach tool to policy makers, practitioners, other disciplines and the wider society to contribute to the understanding and solving of environmental problems across the world. The network hopes to explore original and creative ways of collaborating outside academia and disciplinary boundaries, to offer anthropological know-how for dealing with current environmental problems.

Focus

Environment is a key topic with a long history in anthropology. For example, classic cultural ecology focused on the relationship between nature and culture, nurture and nature, and human adaptation to the environment. More recently, political ecology has brought to the forefront topics such as the interconnectedness of political, economic and social factors with environmental issues. Studies on nature symbolism, human-animal relationships, more-than-human-sociality, and the role of science and technology in the production of environmental knowledge and practices are among the most innovative developments in anthropology. Based on this long tradition, environmental anthropology plays an increasing role in research on climate change and in debates on the Anthropocene, contributing new epistemological and ontological foundations for coping with present and future challenges, and tools for bridging theory and practice, local and global, expert and other forms of knowledge.

Environmental anthropology is a key resource in current efforts to grapple with climate change, environmental problems and ecological crises at various scales and in many places. Based on extensive fieldwork, anthropology contributes to understanding environmental conflicts, including the use of ‘environment’ as a new form of governance, pointing to frequently ignored phenomena like green colonialism, environmental determinism including sexism and racism, or fortress conservation. Furthermore, environmental issues are often articulated from below, symmetrically and sometimes in terms of environmental justice, or what are recognised as moral ecologies. Anthropological research and outreach reminds policy makers and practitioners that environments are dynamic, in process, and always more than only ‘ecological’ in the strict sense.

The EASA Environment and Anthropology Network provides a space for current discussions in environmental and ecological anthropology in Europe, as well as a body to inform public environmental debates from an anthropological perspective.