International conference Centre for Space Place and Society CSPS


The preliminary programme can be found here. Please check this page regularly for updates.

Keynote address Annemarie Mol

Valuing here or there: the pertinence of where questions
With numbers it is possible to quantify things, ‘life’ included. How to respond to this, the organisers ask. My answer is that what is fine here may be out of place there. In some sites, counting and measuring are helpful tools, in others they unduly overrule other modes of valuing – such as estimating, judging, desiring, appreciating, caring. And the results of a study that served a laudable goal here, in relation to this particular concern, may feed into awkward practices there, in another site or situation. It all depends. But rather than staying stuck in that, I suggest that we explore how and on what ‘it’ depends. To exemplify how we might do this, I will use materials from diverse cases – ranging from the practice of maintaining a steady body weight, through to that of fostering lively creatures – but not messiness – in urban settings. Against a background of quasi-universals that are variously made to travel in authoritative ways, I hope to contribute to dreaming up terms and techniques that help to investigate situatedness and inter-dependence.

Keynote address Katherine Gibson

Thinking with interdependence: From Economy/Environment to ecological livelihoods
In today’s world complex negotiations of multi-species community and livelihood have been deflected into modes of non-thought such as ‘jobs vs. environment,’ or ‘cost/benefit analysis,’ or ‘necessary trade-offs.’ These are formulations that appear to provoke serious collective consideration, yet in practice block the creative potentialities of thinking. In this lecture I seek to both challenge and think beyond some key contributors to this blockage: namely contemporary articulations of ‘the Economy’ and ‘the Environment.’ The distinction between these two domains, and the particular ways in which they are each constituted in conventional contemporary discourse, severs us from transformative, ethically-infused encounters with our constitutive interdependencies. By dividing our oikos (habitat) into two tension-ridden domains, and by articulating these domains in terms of a law-governed sphere of (capitalist) market activity (the Economy) and a separate, law-governed nonhuman sphere of resources (the Environment), this pair of categories makes it exceedingly difficult to develop collective accounts of and interventions into how we are actually sustained, and with whom/what we are actually interdependent. In this lecture I ask: How can we think with the world, with the fullness of the interdependencies that make us? How can we act in the midst of this thinking? I review some of the thinking practices developed by members of the Community Economies Collective that help us, and those we work with on the ground, to open and expand pathways for embracing interdependence and negotiating the ethical dynamics that emerge in our myriad constitutive relations.