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On the Political Nature of Cyanobacteria: intra-active collective politics in Loweswater, the English Lake District

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/06/2015
<mark>Journal</mark>Environment and Planning D: Society and Space
Issue number3
Number of pages16
Pages (from-to)477-493
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


How can the politics of nature be envisioned for an age conscious of the complexity, contingency, and relationality of the world? What new practices are required to do justice to the recognition that the potential to act, shape, and change emerging worlds lies within complex epistemological and ontological relations? This paper describes an interdisciplinary study conducted between 2007 and 2010 in Loweswater, the English Lake District, that addressed these questions. Here, for three years, a ‘new collective’ as described by Latour emerged that carried out its own epistemological and ontological experiments: the Loweswater Care Project (LCP). The LCP was shaped by ideas about ‘new collectives’ and the commitment to understanding material ‘intra-action’ in situ. This inspired an appreciation of the radical relationality of people and things, and an approach to doing politics with things that we term ‘intra-active collective politics’. In this paper we highlight the consequences of this approach for knowing, but also for action and ‘management’. The research and the experimental forum of the LCP lie at a crossroads between the preoccupations of environmental management (particularly catchment management), the concerns of science and technology studies, and posthumanist thinking.