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Living With Biodiversity: people, knowledge, politics

Date: 22 September 2010 Time: 00.00 -00.00 pm

Venue: Naturalis, the Dutch Natural History Museum, Leiden, The Netherlands

Living with biodiversity

This conference brings together international academics on the topic 'living with biodiversity'. By focusing on interactions between knowledge, people, politics and biodiversity, this symposium hopes to generate new ways of understanding public involvement with nature and biodiversity and new perspectives on how to live with biodiversity.

This topic is timely and relevant considering that 2010 is the international biodiversity year. Moreover, scientific insights show dramatic rates of species extinction and biodiversity conservation is an increasingly important topic on national and international political agendas. Our relationship with biodiversity, through policy, through conservation or through engagement with nature is one that involves blurred boundaries between science, politics and lay knowledge. Biodiversity policy typically presents itself as evidence based, emphasizing the importance of a strong scientific foundation for decision making. Conservation biologists emphatically present their discipline as 'applied', 'mission oriented', or even 'post-normal', which implies an intentional and conscious blurring of the boundaries between science and policy. Biodiversity recording and natural history are to a large extent based on volunteers and amateurs and have always involved blurred boundaries between scientific and lay knowledge. Thus, biodiversity is a topic where politicians, policy makers, scientists, and citizens meet and interact. As such, it has proven to be a fruitful topic for research within Science and Technology Studies and related fields such as geography and political ecology. Studies have criticized the predominantly technical and scientific framing of biodiversity and shown how this involves exclusion of indigenous and local voices. These criticisms are all the more pressing in light of current pleas for governance, participation and citizen engagement in policy and society as ways to ensure sustainability and conservation and current trends to treat nature as a commodity that can be (ac)counted and traded.

In this symposium, we discuss human interactions with biodiversity in different arenas such as politics and decision making, in natural history museums and botanical gardens and in the generation of biodiversity data. Each of these involves scientific and other knowledge and information and each involves non-scientific publics in different ways. By focusing on knowledge, people and politics, this symposium generates new ways of understanding public involvement with nature and biodiversity and new perspectives on how to live with biodiversity.


Who can attend: Anyone


Further information

Organising departments and research centres: Centre for the Study of Environmental Change, Sociology


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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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