YHYS (The Finnish Society for Environmental Social Science) Colloquium

November 22–23, 2018

VENUE: University of Lapland, Rovaniemi, Lapland, Sápmi, Finland



The theme of the annual colloquium of the Finnish Society for Environmental Social Science (YHYS) is natureculture.

Ecological compensation, biodiversity offsetting, no net loss of biodiversity, ecosystem services, low-carbon economy, ecoinnovation, circular economy, zero waste, active energy citizenship, resilience and bioeconomy. These are examples of concepts that have in the past few years steered conversations of the management of natural resources, environmental protection and environmental politics and greatly influenced political agendas.  A growing awareness of the climate change, of the sixth wave of extinction and of other irreversible changes in our environment has influenced the emergence of re-conceptualizations of the eco-sociality of societies. It has sensitized subjects to identify the most critical question for the future policies and research: How to comprehend the intrinsic co-existence of nature and society.

Environmental social sciences have already a long ago indicated how the problems of the society’s relation with originate from the profoundly (and problematically) established divide between culture and nature, located in western thought. The persistent modernist bifurcations form an obstacle for perceiving that human communities do not only live from the land, but live and breathe with the land– and with non-human others.

In the past few years, the emerging multidisciplinary discussion on naturecultures has unsettled the established fields of politics of nature and natural resources, political ecology, and environmental ethics by providing alternative, supplementary, reciprocal and ethically sustainable forms of knowing. The naturecultural theorizing has offered new conceptualizations for thinking about being-in-the-world and for re-establishing the relationship with the land by drawing open-mindedly from the traditions of natural sciences, social sciences, philosophy, and arts.

The colloquium seeks to foster multidisciplinary discussion on the issue of naturecultures, both as a research concept and as a mode of being-in-the-world. Apart from welcoming papers about what one might call traditional topics such as natural resources and environmental politics, we particularly invite novel explorations on e.g. of animals, climate, energy and surplus.

We encourage the contributors to challenge their disciplinary boundaries as well as their own thinking–to bring up new ideas and express creativity. Feel free to bring epistemological questions into the conversation–to disrupt and challenge.

We also keenly welcome artistic interventions on the subject.  In case you are interested about this possibility, please be in contact with the organizers to discuss your idea.

Contact: professor Jarno Valkonen (firstname.lastname@ulapland.fi)

The Finnish Society for Environmental Social Science (YHYS) brings together the practitioners and users of environmental social science in Finland.