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Title: The lure of pedogenesis : an anthropological foray into making urban soils in contemporary France
Author: Meulemans, Germain
ISNI:       0000 0004 6349 313X
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis is an anthropological inquiry into the emergence of urban soils as matters of concern in the worlds of soil scientists and other fields more traditionally involved with cities. Through the lens of soil-making practices, it seeks to elucidate the specificity of urban pedogenesis, including the growth of soils and the lives of the humans associated with them. City soils have typically been neglected in modern thinking about nature and urbanism. They have long been framed solely as a technical question for engineers which seemed to require no further pondering until – in the last two decades – they entered the scope of the soil sciences. This thesis draws on over thirteen months of multi-locale fieldwork conducted in Paris and Lorraine with soil scientists, gardeners and foundation builders. The research does not define a priori what should count as 'urban', 'agricultural' or 'natural' soils. Building on scholarship in anthropology, the soil sciences, science studies, and speculative philosophy, it follows how these actors learn to be affected in the material performance of different relations between people and soils. The chapters are built in counterpoint to one another, occasionally turning to narrative to complement analysis and more traditional ethnography. Each chapter pulls a different diffractive string from the mesh of urban soil matters, and follows where it leads. As ways of knowing that emerge from soil construction are described, the question of what making soils does to knowing them becomes a central thread of the thesis. In this, it looks at how soils participate in apparatuses where they become 'lures for feelings' – affective interweavings in which worlds are experienced.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Fonds national de la recherche scientifique (Belgium) ; Université de Liège
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Urban soils ; Soil formation