Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.693277
Title: The role of digital technologies in human-nature relationships
Author: Verma, Audrey
ISNI:       0000 0004 5922 2476
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2016
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Abstract:
While technology has widely been formulated as antithetical to nature, there has been an increased adoption of digital set-ups to promote and enact environmental conservation. This thesis thus examined a range of digital technologies more commonly used for nature-related activities (for example, mobile applications for crowdsourcing data, satellite tracking and mapping facilities, and visual imaging equipment such as cameras and sonar devices) with two objectives. First, at an applied level, the research sought to locate the new set-ups being used, and to unfold the technical, practical and relational issues emerging from this use. Second, at a more abstract level, the research aimed to better understand the sociological implications of deploying these technologies, in terms of the definitions of 'nature' being 'produced' and how the devices might be (re)shaping human-nature relationships. Four areas were studied: wildlife monitoring and recording, public engagement efforts by conservation organisations, conflict management, and digital art production. These contexts form the data chapters of this thesis, and the findings result from an inter-disciplinary qualitative social scientific research enquiry, framed by a constructionist perspective. With regard to the first aim, this research found that the technologies used by organisations and practitioners had the capacity to increase public participation as well as the quantity and quality of nature-related data and information, and could contribute to the formulation of environmental conservation strategies. However, these capacities did not come without issues such as the relegation of public participants to passive roles and struggles over legitimacy in terms of production and interpretation of data wrought from new devices. In relation to the second aim, this research found that digital technological set-ups (re)configured the ways in which wildlife in particular was seen and understood, and revealed both enmeshment and persistent binaries along the emotion/cognition and nature/culture axes. These findings highlight the role of emotions in conservation, and point to increasing complexities in how humans define and relate to nature.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: dot.rural RCUK Digital Economy Hub ; University of Aberdeen ; James Hutton Institute
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.693277  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Digital electronics ; Technological innovations ; Human ecology
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