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CSEC/Sociology Seminar: Nature and Capital Part 1

Date: 24 February 2010 Time: 2.00-5.00 p.m.

Venue: IAS Meeting Room 2

Nature and Capital Seminar Series Part 1

This seminar series is planned as a series of three events on the topic of 'Nature and Capital'. The theme brings together those interested in ways in which the natural (biodiversity, biology, the body) is entangled in questions of capital and value. Invited speakers will open each event followed by shorter presentations and a round table discussion. Our invited speaker for the first event is Katja Neves-Graša, Associate Professor at the Departmentof Anthropology and Sociology at Concordia University, Montreal. The title of her presentation is:

'A Whale of a Dilemma: Analyzing the Contemporary Intersection of Capitalism and Nature Conservation'.

Katja's talk will be followed by short presentations on the theme of nature and capital by Rebecca Ellis, Bron Szersznski, Larry Reynolds, Claire Waterton (CSEC, LEC and Cesagen).

Katja Neves-Graša: A Whale of a Dilemma: Analyzing the Contemporary Intersection of Capitalism and Nature Conservation.

This presentation provides an overview of Marx's notion of 'metabolic rift' in order to analyze core aspects of the historical relation between capital and nature which have contributed to our global environmental predicament. It will be contended nonetheless, that the current greening of capitalism and the concomitant emergence of a 'conservationist mode of capitalist production' calls for a profound revision of Marx's stance on political ecology. In this paper, I argue that as capitalism and nature conservation become increasingly intertwined, purported 'causes' and 'solutions' to our environmental crises are at times difficult to distinguish - though not impossible, provided that the proper analytical tools are used.

Relying on data from two empirical studies - organic agricultural production in Quebec, and whale watching in the Azores, Portugal - the extent to which 'nature' tends to be co-opted by capitalist interests will be discussed, as will be the production of a new, post-industrial, type of metabolic rift in nature conservation.

Event website:


Who can attend: Anyone


Further information

Associated staff: Claire Waterton

Organising departments and research centres: Centre for Science Studies, Centre for the Study of Environmental Change, ESRC Centre for Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics (CESAGen), Lancaster Environment Centre LEC, Sociology

Keywords: Capitalism, Environment, Nature, Systems theory


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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Lancaster University
Lancaster LA1 4YD
United Kingdom

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