08 SES 02 B, Competences, Agency and ESD
Parallel Paper Session
This paper concerns communication processes and how nature´s agency will be acknowledged according to the formulation of knowledge concerning the phenomenon "sustainable development". The study concerns environmental communication in the actions of UNESCO Man and Biosphere program (MAB) from emerging biosphere reserve (BR) building activities. It is a case-study of two emerging BR in Sweden. A BR building is the activities that shape model-areas for sustainability within the MAB. The narrative actor-network analysis is based on meeting observations and interviews with people that cooperate, collaborate and co-manage activities to gain sustainable futures within the areas and elsewhere in the world.
In the emergence of BR within the MAB, there is an anthropocentric viewpoint of agency. Still we cannot ignore the agency of nature because nature becomes a matter of knowledge framing when it concerns sustainability. It is activities in nature that matters along with activities that are framed by human societal actors. As humans we have the possibility or limitation to consider the agency of nature and find ways to change the action-space concerning the agency of human actors within processes framing sustainable futures within concerted actions of plurality or as deliberative consensus.
Nature as a key actor, in the activity of emergence of BR is both complex and complicated. To start, nature is not one nature is a collective of actants with various forms of agency. Still in environmental communicational acts, nature as a communicative term is used for everything and everyone, sometimes including and sometimes excluding the humans. Nature as an actor has the ability to change and shape form of life and material within processes of interaction and exchange. The nature is categorized within geology, biology and atmosphere. The actants within these categories that have an exchange or interact are for example mountains, volcanoes, rivers, trees, flowers, bushes, animal (both human and non-human animals). Humans is transformed to actors, both included as actant of the nature but also excluded from the nature as societal actors with agency in farming, foresting, nature observing, citizenship, societal positioning’s etc. Further these human actors are shaped as actants categorized as men, women, children etc.
Within the two studied BR, people have shaped various communication processes with different communication principles framing either a deliberative consensus outcome or a pluralistic agonistic output. This paper will refer to the various ways knowledge frameworks emerge according to the phenomenon “sustainable development” through the different possibilities and limitations that these two communication processes offer advantages to form.
The acceptance of nature as an actor with agency has changed over time within the communicating processes. The societal actors have at each of the two study-sites decreased their action-space over time and opened up for the acceptance of nature as an actor within the communication processes. The change of the societal actors´ agency within the communication processes are frames for the acknowledgement shaping knowledge concerning possibilities and limitations of sustainable futures in the world.
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