Learning through affective encounters: Exploring the entanglement of agencies in landholder attitudes and actions toward invasive plant management (14626)
This paper explores invasive plant management in Bega Valley to understand how landholders’ learn and gain knowledge toward invasives through relational exchanges of human-nonhuman bodies. To understand human-nonhuman relations requires an approach that acknowledges the ubiquity of nonhuman agency— extending beyond animals to encompass plants, objects, and the elements. Environmental management literature focuses attention on how people learn and gain knowledge in producing specific management actions. Here, learning is categorised through individual, interpersonal, and social relations that highlight the iterative, reflective, and contextual nature of learning. However, nonhuman agency remains seldom addressed and often overlooked in comparison to other agents in the learning process. Conversely, relational approaches to human-nonhuman encounters have emphasised the role of nonhumans in shaping how people learn and how behaviours are engendered. The pervasiveness of nonhuman agency has been observed through behavioural changes amongst anglers,1 gardeners,2 and reindeer herders3 in (co)producing understandings of individual species and also broader environmental processes. This paper will expand current approaches toward environmental learning and management to promote increased attention to the importance of nonhuman agency in contributing to people’s understandings and actions toward invasive plants. This conceptual approach is furthered through the use of landholder interviews to uncover how people learn to identify, manage, and monitor species through their personal experiences in working on their land. Human-invasive encounters highlight the affective capacities of nonhuman agency in influencing landholder attitudes and actions— extending the challenge for management organisations to apprehend how people learn and how this impacts invasive plant management.
- Bear, C., & Eden, S. (2011). Thinking like a fish? Engaging with nonhuman difference through recreational angling. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 29(2), 336–352.
- Hitchings, R. (2003). People, plants and performance: On actor network theory and the material pleasures of the private garden. Social & Cultural Geography, 4(1), 99–114.
- Lorimer, H. (2006). Herding memories of humans and animals. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 24, 497–518.