Marianne Elisabeth Lien: "What’s Love Got to Do with It? Care, Curiosity, and Commitment in Ethnography beyond the Human"

In this article published in Enviornmental Humanities, Marianne Elisabeth Lien argues that ethical conduct in nature conservations calls for relational interspecies commitment beyond mere affect.

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An ethics of care in nature conservation must ask not only whose voices are heard, but also which interspecies relations that come to matter. Inspired by Jane Bennett’s question about how ethical codes are transformed into laudable acts in interspecies relations, this article explores alignments between affective enchantment and interspecies response-ability.

Juxtaposing two ethnographic sites in Norway, salmon aquaculture and nature conservation, Marianne E. Lien argues that ethical conduct calls for relational interspecies commitment beyond mere affect: enchantment offers no guarantee of animal welfare. But nor does a set of legal regulations. The first section of this article explores the practical enactment of sentient salmon in Norwegian aquaculture, and details interspecies response-ability and care through practices where legal regulations and affective registers intersect. In the second section Lien turns to what some call untouched nature, while others call it home, and shows how enchantment of nature in the abstract may legitimate the dispossession of the vital relations between local people and their worlds.

Both cases suggest the need to pay close attention to relational and vernacular arts of noticing that have been cultivated by others. Shifting our attention from the outsider’s gaze as an affective enchantment toward the relationality of others, we may notice the myriad of generative interspecies relations that unfold quietly, in a minor chord, and often in unexpected places. The article draws on extensive fieldwork within aquaculture production sites in western Norway and in the coastal regions of Varanger, North Norway.

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Published Sep. 15, 2022 11:06 AM - Last modified Sep. 15, 2022 11:06 AM