HomeMachines, humains et animaux dans les mondes autochtones

HomeMachines, humains et animaux dans les mondes autochtones

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Published on Monday, February 27, 2023

Abstract

This special issue of EchoGéo calls for contributions that focus on the modes of existence of machines in these peripheral areas, as critical materialities and unexplored archives of the current spatial, social, political or environmental reconfigurations. If machines have so rarely been studied, it is because their exogenous and a priori standardizing character is problematic. On the contrary, we formulate the hypothesis that these materialities are a source of creativity and memory and that they constitute a privileged archive for understanding the contemporaneity of these societies throughout the world. The aim is to show what machines do to these lands and, in turn, what these lands do to machines.

Announcement

Argument

It is not often that the gaze on indigenous worlds has stopped on the machines that punctuate communities and daily activities, so insoluble do they seem to be in the representations commonly conveyed about these lands and these populations. Documentarists, anthropologists or geographers make them a blind spot, an unattractive object that should be kept out of the frame, an exogenous intromission with no interest that would contaminate the scene of an original pre-mechanical reality. From this scene, the observer's machines disappear first, as did those of missionaries, armies or NGOs, their trucks, their 4x4s or their planes. But then the machines that populate these realities also disappear, the shepherd's motorbike, the hunter's snowmobile, the gatherer's chainsaw, the fisherman's outboard motor, the small miner's compressor or the old community tractor that sleeps in a deserted shed.

Thus, for example, the excellent documentary Kamtchatka, un été en pays évène, which is supposed to show "how an évène family decided to return to the forest after the fall of the USSR and continues to exist in a different way, in an animistic relationship with the world, despite the assaults of modernity and environmental upheavals", while concentrating on the strong link that ties these populations to nature, films successively a motorboat, a lorry, a bulldozer, a sewing-machine, and a rifle, as so many elements of an omnipresent, but unexplained and silent mechanical setting. The same is true of those NGOs or administrations that keep pushing for mechanization and the arrival of new machines, but ignore those that exist or have existed, the abandoned trucks, the dismantled boats, the motor pumps at rest. This same bias is found in those ontologies of nature that question the relationship between humans and forests, while ignoring the essential question of whether or not chainsaws are used.

If machines have so rarely been studied, it is because their exogenous and a priori standardizing character is problematic. On the contrary, we formulate the hypothesis that these materialities are a source of creativity and memory and that they constitute a privileged archive for understanding the contemporaneity of these societies throughout the world. They make visible what would not otherwise be visible. They allow us to go beyond the common divisions between nature and culture, humans and non-humans, individuals and collectives, extractive industries and local populations. Their uses and misuses reflect technical realities that are less linear and more irregular than the history of technology might imagine. They are at the heart of the construction of social, gender and environmental relations, by conveying and reorganizing the asymmetries of power and inequalities that structure these lands.

This special issue calls for contributions that focus on the modes of existence of machines in these peripheral areas, as critical materialities and unexplored archives of the current spatial, social, political or environmental reconfigurations. The aim is to show what machines do to these lands and, in turn, what these lands do to machines. Without claiming to be exhaustive, we invite authors to work on the diversity of machines - snowmobiles, chainsaws, motor-generators, motor pumps, tractors, rotovators, bulldozers, two-wheelers, trucks, outboard motors, etc. - that can be found in these lands and that shape them. In an indicative way, we favour a few lines of work:

1) The new mechanics of places

The aim is to study how the dissemination of machines is changing local geographies. Indeed, it is for and through mechanical machines that places are being transformed: with the chainsaw, felling becomes less arduous; with the truck, transporting logs becomes easier; with the motor-generator, the night becomes less dark; with the tractor, the plot of land becomes arable; with the motorbike, relatives become closer. Machines are thus changing the relationship to space and are becoming a condition for the current processes of commodification of nature.

2) Of machines and animals, an anthropology of mechanized natures

The usual assumption is that mechanical forces are replacing animal forces and that mechanization has resulted in a “de-animalization” of everyday activities. We invite authors to complicate this proposition by exploring and documenting contemporary relations between machines and animals, hybrid forms and coexistences, forms of animal mechanization and forms of machine animalization, the ecology of machines in animal worlds and the ecology of animals in mechanical worlds, with the aim of building an anthropology of mechanized natures.

3) Machines, arrangements of the political

Mechanics are asymmetrically inscribed in postcolonial spaces marked by strong inequalities. Machines have a political existence on the ground, since they mobilize bundles of clientelist relations, they perpetuate forms of coloniality inherited from the past or, on the contrary, they emancipate new classes of populations, by reorganizing the relations of power on a local scale. Thus, machines are also the object of resistance, attacks or sabotage, which clearly show their contested status.

This Sur le Champs issue is open to the whole of the humanities and social sciences. Any contribution dealing with groups officially recognized, self-declared or simply perceived as 'indigenous' - an all-encompassing category now mobilized as both a political and territorial resource in different geographical contexts - is eligible for consideration.

Submission guidelines

Papers should be written in English or French, and should be approximately 35,000 characters (plus illustrations). Please refer to the recommendations to authors for the standards of presentation of the text, the bibliography and the illustrations (https://journals.openedition.org/echogeo/1940).

Papers may also be submitted on the same theme but for other quarterly sections: Sur le Métier, Sur l’Image, Sur l'Écrit. They must then conform to the expectations of each of these, as indicated in the editorial line: https://journals.openedition.org/echogeo/1927. For example, the editors of the Sur l'Image section expect texts that reflect on the status of the image in research and/or on geographical writing.

All texts must be sent to Alberto Preci (alberto.preci@cnrs.fr), Nicolas Richard (nicolas.richard@cnrs.fr) and Pierre Gautreau (pierre.gautreau@univ-paris1.fr), coordinators of the dossier, with a copy to Karine Delaunay (EchoGeo@univ-paris1.fr), the editorial secretary, who will forward them to the evaluators

before 15 April 2023.

Convenors

  • Alberto Preci (Postdoc ANR Interruptions, CNRS - UMR 7227 CREDA) ;
  • Nicolas Richard (CR CNRS - UMR 7227 CREDA) ;
  • Pierre Gautreau (Professeur Université de Paris 1 - UMR 8586 PRODIG).

Date(s)

  • Saturday, April 15, 2023

Keywords

  • machine, autochtone, territoire, archive, rapports sociaux

Contact(s)

  • Pierre Gautreau
    courriel : pierre [dot] gautreau [at] univ-paris1 [dot] fr
  • Nicolas Richard
    courriel : nicolas [dot] richard [at] cnrs [dot] fr
  • Karine Delaunay
    courriel : karine [dot] delaunay [at] ird [dot] fr
  • Alberto Preci
    courriel : alberto [dot] preci [at] cnrs [dot] fr

Reference Urls

Information source

  • Karine Delaunay
    courriel : karine [dot] delaunay [at] ird [dot] fr

License

CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Machines, humains et animaux dans les mondes autochtones », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Monday, February 27, 2023, https://doi.org/10.58079/1ana

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