The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Practicing ecologies: aquaponics and intervention in the Anthropocene

Practicing ecologies: aquaponics and intervention in the Anthropocene
Practicing ecologies: aquaponics and intervention in the Anthropocene
Reinventing a life of dignity for all humans in a finite and disrupted Earth has become the master issue of our time, the Anthropocene (Hamilton et al., 2015a), a ‘bipolar’ moment (Haraway et al., 2016), where the hope of scientific renewal through multidisciplinary collaboration glints on the doom laden horizon of deepening ecological catastrophe. Against this backdrop, this thesis asks what the Anthropocene means for science and the scholarship of science, through the exploration of ‘Aquaponics’. A food-system innovation that seeks to combine aquaculture and hydroponics in novel ecosystems, ‘Aquaponics’ is thought to hold potential for responding to the impending risks that mark late-industrial food systems in the Anthropocene. The thesis presents material from various ethnographic movements inside the field of Aquaponics, documenting what matters and what comes to matter for researchers and practitioners of this emergent field. The first movement is an engagement in the scientific labs of an agricultural research facility in the south of Belgium. Eschewing the usual terms of interdisciplinary activity, particularly the critical security of distanced observation, the researcher takes up a key role within an aquaponic experiment that seeks to test the possibilities of novel aquaponic ecologies for the agri-food sector. Experiencing the multispecies experiment as a space of both uncertainty and responsibility, political possibility becomes entangled within the aesthetic-material conditions and practices of science (Stengers, 2000). This ethnography discusses the potential and risks of affirming ontological proximity, more-than-human sensitivity, and a politics of care within technoscientific apparatuses. In a second line of ethnographic enquiry, the thesis documents my movements over 3 years within a European network of Aquaponic researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs. Following this ‘field-in-themaking’ (Swanson et al., 2015) the thesis develops an appreciation of knowledge politics involved in emergent fields, exploring the way urgent concerns become channelled down predictable disciplinary lines, complex issues like sustainability become side-lined for more attainable research targets, and technical problems get favoured over those of deliberation. In response to this, the thesis presents the outcome of a collaborative project in which the authors experiment with a shared aquaponic narrative and introduce the need for concepts that allow for types of negotiation that unsettle disciplinary boundaries. The thesis reclaims an idea of sustainability as a concept fitting for aquaponics in the Anthropocene. What follows is not a sparkling methodological blueprint that secures aquaponic solutions, but a collaborative experiment in the art of ‘paying attention’ (Stengers, 2016) that problematizes the experimental objectives of aquaponic research; a form of care for the academic milieu, one of many that increasingly sediment our troubled earth.
University of Southampton
Gott, James
12937a59-3096-4980-8330-e82df5fb35d1
Gott, James
12937a59-3096-4980-8330-e82df5fb35d1
Roe, Emma
f7579e4e-3721-4046-a2d4-d6395f61c675
Eigenbrod, Felix
43efc6ae-b129-45a2-8a34-e489b5f05827
Godbold, Jasmin
df6da569-e7ea-43ca-8a95-a563829fb88a

Gott, James (2019) Practicing ecologies: aquaponics and intervention in the Anthropocene. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 238pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

Reinventing a life of dignity for all humans in a finite and disrupted Earth has become the master issue of our time, the Anthropocene (Hamilton et al., 2015a), a ‘bipolar’ moment (Haraway et al., 2016), where the hope of scientific renewal through multidisciplinary collaboration glints on the doom laden horizon of deepening ecological catastrophe. Against this backdrop, this thesis asks what the Anthropocene means for science and the scholarship of science, through the exploration of ‘Aquaponics’. A food-system innovation that seeks to combine aquaculture and hydroponics in novel ecosystems, ‘Aquaponics’ is thought to hold potential for responding to the impending risks that mark late-industrial food systems in the Anthropocene. The thesis presents material from various ethnographic movements inside the field of Aquaponics, documenting what matters and what comes to matter for researchers and practitioners of this emergent field. The first movement is an engagement in the scientific labs of an agricultural research facility in the south of Belgium. Eschewing the usual terms of interdisciplinary activity, particularly the critical security of distanced observation, the researcher takes up a key role within an aquaponic experiment that seeks to test the possibilities of novel aquaponic ecologies for the agri-food sector. Experiencing the multispecies experiment as a space of both uncertainty and responsibility, political possibility becomes entangled within the aesthetic-material conditions and practices of science (Stengers, 2000). This ethnography discusses the potential and risks of affirming ontological proximity, more-than-human sensitivity, and a politics of care within technoscientific apparatuses. In a second line of ethnographic enquiry, the thesis documents my movements over 3 years within a European network of Aquaponic researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs. Following this ‘field-in-themaking’ (Swanson et al., 2015) the thesis develops an appreciation of knowledge politics involved in emergent fields, exploring the way urgent concerns become channelled down predictable disciplinary lines, complex issues like sustainability become side-lined for more attainable research targets, and technical problems get favoured over those of deliberation. In response to this, the thesis presents the outcome of a collaborative project in which the authors experiment with a shared aquaponic narrative and introduce the need for concepts that allow for types of negotiation that unsettle disciplinary boundaries. The thesis reclaims an idea of sustainability as a concept fitting for aquaponics in the Anthropocene. What follows is not a sparkling methodological blueprint that secures aquaponic solutions, but a collaborative experiment in the art of ‘paying attention’ (Stengers, 2016) that problematizes the experimental objectives of aquaponic research; a form of care for the academic milieu, one of many that increasingly sediment our troubled earth.

Text
Thesis 12-08-2019 POST VIVA Final - Version of Record
Available under License University of Southampton Thesis Licence.
Download (1MB)

More information

Published date: August 2019

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 438098
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/438098
PURE UUID: b9f4e481-e248-46d5-9bae-1f18b12197b2
ORCID for Emma Roe: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-4674-2133
ORCID for Felix Eigenbrod: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-8982-824X
ORCID for Jasmin Godbold: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-5558-8188

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 28 Feb 2020 17:31
Last modified: 29 Feb 2020 01:32

Export record

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton: eprints@soton.ac.uk

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/cgi/oai2

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×