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Niklas Hartmann

Research student

Niklas Hartmann

United Kingdom

Research overview

I deploy the theoretical resources of science and technology studies (STS) to think through issues that are usually addressed by political ecologists, ecological theorists and the conservation community. Particularly, I am interested in the making of contemporary professional and academic environmental knowledge: How is it shaped by broader current cultural and institutional trends as well as particular socio-technical projects with "historically identifiable creators" (Harding)? How does it figure in (and configure) human-environment relations? What kinds of policies, modes of politics, modes of doing research and researcher subjectivities does it presume or can it possibly inform? And what might be alternatives - alternatives that have neither been historically lost nor would require a major rupture, but which might be developed from current practice while readically departing from it.

Thesis Title

Ecosystem Services - studying how a concept transforms ecological theory, research practice and human-environment relations.

Thesis Outline

In my PhD project, I trace the ways in which ecosystem services is becoming established as a core concept of ecological thinking which guides research as well as policy and management; and the profound effects this may have for the future of ecology and the environmental sciences. Ecosystem servicesare not just “out there”. Ecosystem services also is a new way of conceiving of ecosystems with implications for ecological theory, for the practice of environmental research and for the management of ecosystems. Moreover, it is a socially and historically situated concept that requires sociological and cultural analysis. Accordingly, I employ mainly qualitative research methods.

Through my focus on knowledge-making, I aim to use the theoretical resources of science and technology studies (STS) to complement research in human geography and environmental anthropology which documents the social, political, cultural and not least ecological repercussions of environmental policies and management based on ecosystem services thinkingIn doing so, I am less interested in following the core group of advocates for concept. Rather, I want to understand how it figures in the research process of "ordinary researches". To that end, I do field work at scientific conferences and science-policy workshops, and with two very different groups of researchers in two countries.

External Roles

From 2005 to 2012, I have regularly served as a student reviewer in the accreditation of undergraduate and graduate programmes in the environmental sciences and related fields in Germany. I have also been a board member of the Association for Geoecology in Germany from 2006 to 2008. During my first degree at Potsdam University, I have actively contributed to student as well as academic self government. A particular focus of my work there was curriculum development.

Research Grants

My PhD research is funded by a Lancaster University Faculty of Science and Technology PhD studentship in the Lancaster Environment Centre.

In 2012, me and colleagues from the Enviromental, Management and Society Research Group were awarded a total of 28'100 Euro by Bielefeld University's Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZIF) and Volkswagen Foundation for the five day workshop "How do you manage? Unravelling the situated practice of environmental management" at ZIF, Bielefeld, Germany. The European Association for the Study of Science and Technology and Tallin University contribute a total of 2'500 Euro to a follow-up workshop to be held at Tallin, Estonia in December 2013.

Web Links

http://carbonrealities.org/niklas; n dot hartmann at lancaster dot ac dot uk.

Supervised By

Richard Bardgett (LEC: ecology), Rebecca Ellis (LEC: anthropology/geography), Claire Waterton (Sociology)


Diplom-Geoökologe (Potsdam, Germany, 2009; ~MSc Environmental Sciences)

MA Society, Technology and Nature (Lancaster, 2011)

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