The research group focuses on environmental issues through a wide and open approach that reintegrates nature and society as indivisible ontological elements. In fact, contemporary anthropology proposes the ecological (re)integration of the social: human and non-human, biotic and abiotic, as constitutive of life in the planet. Research interests on the interconnections between humans and their environment(s) range from the understanding of how hunter-gatherers map their territories to processes of adaptation to the current climate change, or to the study of the environmentalist movements. Sustainability and ethnography are proposed as political and methodological frameworks to stress the local/global interconnections.
This research group has four aggregative topics:
- Social and cultural appropriations of biophysical environments: By approaching conceptions of nature and social practices, involving natural resources and the production of ecological knowledge;
- The ideological fabrication of nature and biodiversity: By dealing with scientific and political productions of biodiversity and natural habitats, assessing the impacts on human individuals whose livelihoods are dependent on local ecosystems;
- Interactions human/non-human: By studying the share of environments and the simultaneous use of natural resources by human and non-human animals, their interactions, behavioural and cognitive adaptations, and the conservation status of different species, with particular emphasis on primates;
- Climate change, quotidian and global processes: By studying the factual consequences of climate change, how it is being perceived, and how humans are coping with it through processes of adaptation and resilience.
This research group is interested in carrying out this agenda in several contexts, namely Europe (especially Portugal) and Africa.
Ethnography has proved to be a very solid method for a profound and intricate approximation to peoples’ daily life and therefore for critical assessments on sustainability and environmental issues. The applied perspective is also informed by two main assumptions: anthropological knowledge must be shared with non-academic audiences in order to inform environmental policies, while creating dialogues with other scientific domains. Therefore interdisciplinarity is required, complementary to the ethnographic method, while reinforcing the connections and intersections between Cultural and Biological Anthropology.