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Title: Once there were fishermen : social natures, environmental ethics and an urban mangrove
Author: Lang Reinisch, Luciana
ISNI:       0000 0004 5356 5232
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2015
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This research looks at the change in ethical sensibilities towards a mangrove in a fishing colony in the periphery of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and at how they may have changed as the mangrove became a protected area and entered the environmental assemblage. Formerly called Z-1, this was the first of 800 cooperative fishing colonies founded along the Brazilian coast in 1920 as part of a government initiative. The study unveiled the following pattern around the mangrove: from being a source of livelihood and place for communal activities up until the 1970s, it became the locus of an environmental movement in the 80s and 90s after it was devastated by a big fire. The concrete outcome of the movement was the creation of the APARU, Area of Environmental Protection and Urban Regeneration, which meant that after more than seventy years under a system of tutelage by the Navy, the colony and the mangrove were subjected to an environmental form of governance administered by the City Council, and the mangrove went from being a taken-for-granted thing to an environmentally-oriented concept. It finally fell silent and isolated as it became increasingly polluted, even if ‘protected’ by a municipal decree. The main argument presented is that, as the mangrove passed from nature to environment, which implied a change in governance from the Navy to the Department of Environment, people found creative ways of holding on to its thingness, and to ethical values that at times conflict with the broader environmental assemblage. Those local ethics forge the links that sustain an ecological assemblage, and the ethics prescribed by the environmental governance currently in place can be undermined by more embedded values. That said, local knowledge and practices are environmentally informed, and different ways of being political emerge. This community was not only created literally on a mangrove, but it was also symbolically and politically reproduced through the mangrove, and even more so after it became a protected area. The dialectical outcomes of the relationships between human beings and the mangrove, and between human beings as they multiply, transform the landscape continuously, just as the mangrove in its perpetual unfolding impresses itself upon human matters and sustains the social ordering of things. As new elements are assembled around the mangrove, from discarded utensils to stories of environmental activism, the mangrove is enacted as heritage, as nature, as a biome, as culture, as pollution, as an institution, and as environment. This thesis hopes to contribute towards the broader body of literature on environmental anthropology, political ecology, and anthropology of moralities, by focusing on ‘human-disturbed environments’ (Tsing 2013) and bringing attention to the value of local perceptions in policy making.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Political Ecology; Environmental Ethics; Waste; Umbanda; Social Movement