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Title: Cultures of forecasting : volatile and vulnerable nature, knowledge, and the future of uncertainty
Author: Bobbette, Adam
ISNI:       0000 0004 7230 6340
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2018
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Adam Bobbette Cultures of Forecasting: Volatile and Vulnerable Nature, Knowledge, and the Future of Uncertainty Summary This dissertation is a cultural history and ethnography of volatile nature forecasting. It looks at the ways that the future of nature is known in highly unpredictable contexts through a broad history of modernist nature forecasting and an ethnography of state scientists, shamans, and a sultans retinue on the active volcano, Mount Merapi, Indonesia. The project aims to understand how practices of forecasting generate futures, mobilize, and organise anticipation, how time is known, and populations governed. It looks at the way that publics emerge through forecasting technologies, and how futures and nature-culture relations are contested. It follows the practices of scientists in volcano and tsunami observatories, in planes tracking tropical storms, and bunkers dug into active volcanoes; at how instruments and technologies such as seismographs, windows, globes, speakers, and electrical tomography, mediate and transform relations with nature, the future, and governance. It considers too, the role of architecture, shamanism, and the state in appropriating and governing uncertainty. By following the fieldwork of geophysicists and volcanologists in observatories and the edge of the caldera of Mount Merapi, as well as spirit possession practices, and the ritual offerings of a sultan, I demonstrate how practices of forecasting are making contested futures lived in the present, and forging infrastructures and tools for their longevity. Forecasting, I demonstrate, is a cultural technique that negotiates the porous borders between the human, nature, and the future.
Supervisor: Amin, Ash Sponsor: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Canada ; Cambridge Trust ; Department of Geography ; University of Cambridge
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Indonesia ; Anticipation ; Futures ; Forecasting ; Mt Merapi ; Culture ; Infrastructure ; Sultan ; Shaman ; Volcano science