Karen Hebert

Grant Type

Post PhD Research Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Carleton U.

Grant number

Gr. 9601

Approve Date

April 13, 2018

Project Title

Hebert, Dr. Karen E., Carleton U., Ontario, Canada - To aid research on 'After Risk: New Economies of Environmental Care and Collaboration in Coastal Alaska'

Preliminary abstract: What does it mean to fight for environmental futures through the language and practice of care and collaboration? Which ways of interacting with the environment are valorized and cultivated, and who or what gains power? In the US state of Alaska, new livelihoods are increasingly prominent in rural regions, as historically dominant forms of state- and industry-driven resource extraction are joined by a growing number of collaborative enterprises for sustainable development. These efforts cast longstanding occupations, such as commercial fishing, and new ones, such as stream restoration, as labors of environmental care rather than exploitation. This ethnographic study across two different regions of coastal Alaska examines how emergent economies and modes of governance forged through affective connection influence the interrelationship of state, science, and social movements in the circumpolar North. It builds from broader research that examines the experience of living in an environment ‘at risk’ to consider the formations that have arisen in response. The proposed research brings together scholarship on affective labor and neoliberal governance to advance scholarly conversations about how human-environment relations are controlled and exploited at present. To examine emergent enterprises–ranging from community campaigns to promote salmon stewardship, to alliances to map ecological knowledge for artisanal product development–the project relies on ethnographic fieldwork with rural residents and other key actors, including NGO workers, corporate officers, scientists, activists, and government officials. Data from semi-structured interviews, participant-observation, and document analysis will shed light on which perspectives have most influenced new initiatives, and how these are shaping rural residents’ participation in resource development and its debate.