4 April, 18:00h, Vienna STS Talk "Globalizing biodiversity: representation, order, and the politics of knowledge"


Presented by Esther Turnhout, Department of Environmental Sciences, Wageningen University, When: 04 April 2017, 18:00h, Where: Seminar room STS, NIG, 1010 Wien, Universitätsstraße 7/II/6. Stock


Centralized states and science have something important in common: they both require
order to function. This is one reason why, in spite of the many complaints about the
supposed gap between science and policy, they actually get along very well in many areas.
One of these areas is biodiversity conservation. Here, various elaborate classification
systems function as technologies of order, making possible the political treatment of
specific, scientifically sanctioned, conservation priorities and preferences. In this talk, I will
draw on examples in Ecosystem Services literature and on the Global Assessment of
biodiversity and ecosystem services, which is currently being developed under the auspices
of IPBES (the Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem services) to illustrate
how biodiversity knowledge and global biodiversity governance are made to align in
practice. Specifically, I will demonstrate what orderings are at work to enable the global
representation of biodiversity and how, at the same time, these orderings are continuously
tweaked and resisted. I will conclude by discussing these simultaneous practices of ordering,
tweaking, and resisting as sites where the politics of biodiversity knowledge plays out and,
consequently, also as the sites where the democratization of biodiversity knowledge may
take shape.