Tuesday, March 11, 2014

when Nature and Numbers don't meet

What a great topic!  Someone emailed me a link to this symposium.

Information from the website:
The Holtz Center for Science and Technology Studies will host a three-day symposium on the intersections and tensions between sensory or emotive experiences of nature and the bureaucratic, political, and scientific quantification of the environment.  
We are especially interested in reflexive moments when numbers become lived experience; moments of cooptation when quantification appropriates the language of experience; and moments of resistance when the mismatch between experience and quantification overwhelms the discussion.  Potential research questions include:
  • How is nature defined and valued, and for or by whom?
  • How have sensory and emotive experiences of the environment been translated into numerical or monetary terms, and are there examples of the reverse phenomenon?
  • When and why have environmentalists adopted numbers or monetary values for conservation ends, and what are the trade-offs of this approach compared to, for example, arguments for the intrinsic value(s) of nature?
  • Who has determined the correspondence between qualitative and quantitative measures of value?  How?  To what end?
  • How have the values societies ascribe to nature changed over time, how are social and political conflicts over these values adjudicated, and what has been the role of scientific expertise?
 Link to Event

Symposium organizers:
Kristoffer Whitney, Postdoctoral Fellow, Holtz Center for Science & Technology Studies
Melanie Kiechle, Assistant Professor of History, Virginia Tech.

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