In this paper I explore the temporalities and futurities of climate change. The chapter focuses ethnographically on the activities of a university climate change adaptation research project and its attempt to use climate modeling techniques to imagine and engage the future effects of climate change on the city of Manchester, UK. The chapter delves into the operations through which climate models are scaled in order to trace how this scaling of climate produces a way of thinking that generates a particular frame for understanding the future. Observing how this climatological description of the future is put into circulation I suggest that the version of the future implied by climate models exists in tension with other orientations towards the future that are figured in other very different kinds of objects. The challenge of ‘thinking like a climate’ from the vantage point of a particular place, allows us to see how climate science becomes caught in a tension between a probabilistic understanding of the future and other ways of evidencing and engaging with a city yet to come.
Source and further information: MPI for Social Anthropology, Link (23 May 2019)
Dr. Hannah Knox (University College London)
Hannah Knox gained her PhD from the University of Manchester in 2003 and joined UCL in 2014 after from the ESRC Centre for Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC) at the University of Manchester.
Her research is concerned with understanding processes of social and political transformation through the ethnographic study of technical relations and expert practices. Over the years her work has moved from a focus on struggles over knowledge and expertise to incorporate the role that materials of different kinds play in shaping techno-political relations. She has conducted research with new media entrepreneurs and economic development practitioners in the UK, IT managers and digital modellers in global corporations, and road construction and design engineers in Peru. Most recently she has been studying the politics of energy and climate change in a project that has been following the pursuit of carbon reduction strategies by a network of scientists, activists and local authority officers in Manchester, UK. Her work is concerned with understanding contemporary manifestations of risk and responsibility, territorial politics, expertise, knowledge and technology.
She is the co-editor of Ethnography for Data Saturated World (2018) and ‘Objects and Materials: A Routledge Companion’ (2013), and author of Roads: An Anthropology of Infrastructure and Expertise (2015). Her next book Thinking like a Climate is due to be published in 2020.
Source: UCL Anthropology, Link (23 May 2019)