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On the pragmatics of inscription: detecting deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date07/2013
JournalTheory, Culture and Society
Journal number4
Volume30
Number of pages27
Pages151-177
Early online date15/05/13
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

‘Methods’ and their devices have been conventionally viewed as the means through which the move from world to representation (and back again) might be reliably performed. An alternative view, perhaps most clearly exemplified by the post-ANT empirical programme of ‘material semiotics’, sees methods and devices as integral to the ways particular ‘realities’ are enacted in practices of representation and intervention. Drawing upon this latter work, the present paper examines the role of satellite images, GIS and GPS data and devices in the methods utilized in the location, identification and classification of ‘illegal’ deforestation in Brazilian Amazonia. Here we witness how efforts to make ‘deforestation’ into a stable object of knowledge, singular and coordinated, are countered by attempts to render it multiple and irreconcilable as methods and devices become entangled in the conflicts and antagonisms of social life.